The Dim-Post

May 8, 2016

Quote of the day, when cell culture was hardcore edition

Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 5:22 pm

I’m reading Rebecca Skloot’s book about Henrietta Lacks (New Yorker review here). It is consistently fascinating but this passage about Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel struck me (possibly because my office is just across the hall from a cell culture lab.)

[Carrel] wrongly believed that light could kill cell cultures, so his laboratory looked like the photo negative of a Klu Klux Klan rally, where technicians worked in long black robes, heads covered in black hoods with small slits cut for their eyes. They sat on black stools at black tables in a shadowless room with floors, ceilings and walls painted black.

In 1912 Carrel claimed to have cultured an immortal cell line from an embryonic chicken heart. Journalists covering the discovery speculated they would ‘form a rooster big enough to cross the Atlantic in a single stride’.

Historians suspect Carrel’s claims were fraudulent and that he injected new cells into his culture.

5 Comments »

  1. “Journalists covering the discovery speculated they would ‘form a rooster big enough to cross the Atlantic in a single stride'”

    A wonderful story, written no doubt by the ancestors of Duncan Garner and Patrick Gower.

    Comment by Tinakori — May 8, 2016 @ 8:00 pm

  2. Why the robes – did his technicians emit light?

    Comment by richdrich — May 9, 2016 @ 11:44 am

  3. At any point, did Carrel see the light?

    I’ll get me coat…

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 9, 2016 @ 2:53 pm

  4. I’ve seen the Carrel saga used as a case-study in scientific fraud, and how much damage it can do.
    https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/feb/18/haruko-obokata-stap-cells-controversy-scientists-lie

    “Other researchers probably couldn’t duplicate Carrel’s results because they weren’t incompetent or dishonest enough.”

    Comment by herr doktor bimler — May 10, 2016 @ 3:38 pm

  5. “Other researchers probably couldn’t duplicate Carrel’s results because they weren’t incompetent or dishonest enough.”

    Kinda reminds me of Michael Mann’s hockey stick.

    I thank you.

    (Marcott’s materialised at a press conference and was quickly withdrawn.)

    Comment by Clunking Fist — May 14, 2016 @ 10:34 am


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