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A new way to study human development

 

Narrator:       This is Science Today. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, have developed a new laboratory technique to understand how environmental hazards negatively impact human development. The group is using embryonic stem cells to, for the first time, study what happens when a developing fetus is exposed to tobacco smoke.

Bernstein:     Until now, there was really no way to study this in a laboratory because this is what's happening to a human baby as it's developing.

Narrator:       Study leader Dr. Harold Bernstein says demonstrating what happens during normal development in a lab dish will help launch a whole new way to study human development.

Bernstein:     Many of the questions that we've had about what guides the development of organs like the heart that we've only been able to examine in other species, we're really now able to ask those specific questions in humans.  

Narrator:       For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.