Using advances in marine biomechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering, a team of researchers at Harvard University and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have turned inanimate silicone and living cardiac muscle cells into a freely swimming "jellyfish."
The finding serves as a proof of concept for reverse engineering a variety of muscular organs and simple life forms.
The researchers' method for building the tissue-engineered jellyfish, dubbed "Medusoid," was published this week in a Nature Biotechnology paper.
Similar to the way a human heart moves blood throughout the body, jellyfish propel themselves through the water by pumping.
In figuring out how to take apart and then rebuild the primary motor function of a jellyfish, the aim was to gain new insights into how such pumps really worked.