Research Report: TSRI: Mice successfully created from skin cells


Researchers at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) report success in creating live mice from mouse skin cells, without using embryonic stem cells or cloning techniques that require eggs. The study builds on earlier research whereby mature skin cells are reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state.

The TSRI study is part of a trio of studies showing the achievement is possible. Also reporting similar results are two Chinese groups. Each group used different methods with the techniques used by TSRI more effective in producing live pups about 13 percent of the time compared to 3.5 percent or 1 percent reported in the other studies. The research appears online in Nature.

Follow ocean science in

Beginning this week through Aug. 21, follow a research expedition on the high seas and witness (via blog and Twitter) an environmental problem first hand. The destination is the North Pacific Ocean Gyre, located roughly a thousand miles off California’s coast. There, a slowly moving, clockwise spiral of currents has accumulated plastics and other debris into an ocean area estimated to be twice the size of Texas.

Very little is known about this “garbage patch” and what effects the debris might have on the food web. Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, with support from UC Ship Funds and Project Kaisei, is undertaking a research mission to explore and analyze the problem. The Scripps Environmental Accumulation of Plastic Expedition (SEAPLEX) will conduct surveys of plastic distribution, investigate floating plastic, and assess sea life impacts.

Daily SEAPLEX blogs at

  1. Follow the expedition on Twitter: @Scripps_Ocean and @Seaplexscience.

Clouds and global warming

As the earth warms under increasing greenhouse gases, will clouds dissipate - letting in more of the sun’s heat energy and making the earth warm? Or, will cloud cover increase - blocking the sun’s rays and actually slowing down global warming? Researchers from the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD believe they have an answer.

The scientists applied complex climate models to two data sets that employed fundamentally different measurement methods: One set consisted of visual observations from ships over the last 50 years; the other was based on data from weather satellites.

The results of the analysis was a surprising degree of agreement between the data sets and revealed that low-level stratiform clouds appear to dissipate as the ocean warms. This indicates that changes in these clouds may enhance the warming of the planet. The study appears in the journal Science.