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Test-Tube Teeth

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Biology Induction Research Task Article: Test - Tube Teeth * The article is about if tissue engineers can manufacture living replacement teeth. Scientists have observed how nature engineers a tooth and have combined this understanding with advances in stem cell biology and tissue engineering technology to get closer to and understand biological replacement teeth. The construction of a tooth takes about 14 months to complete in a developing human. Two different types of embryonic tissue combine to produce a tooth, and an ongoing molecular interaction between them leads the process. Tissue engineers are studying these signals and steps to understand the signals they need to replicate as they manufacture living bioengineered replacement teeth. ...read more.


Tooth development involves an elaborate network of thousands of genes. The researchers have learnt which are most important genes in the control of size and shape. Some genes only work in the upper jaw, others only where molars grow. In one experiment, Sharpe's team (from King's College London) took early tooth buds from growing embryos and switched on a gene known to be active in growing molars. They implanted the buds in the front of the jaws of mice, where incisors would normally grow. However, they emerged with molars in front and back. Sharpe then turned this gene on artificially and transformed the way a tooth develops. Sharpe's team took tooth buds forming in a mouse embryo and replaced the mesenchyme with stem cells taken from an adult mouse, to see whether they could use stem cells. ...read more.


By the positive results he achieved, it appears that the adult mouth can provide a suitable environment for tooth development. However there is more research ad investigation to be made to complete this for human bioengineered teeth. * The advancement is unlikely to be controversial as it is not against nature and will be advantageous for people who need new teeth. * This advancement will benefit people who need new teeth and also has two other particular advantages: teeth are easily accessible and our quality of life is greatly improved if we have them, however, we don't need our teeth to live. Someday, this may mean the end of crowns and dentures. It could also mean an end to the endless suffering, caused by tooth loss worldwide. Therefore, the advancement is likely to have a positive affect on our everyday life. ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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