How many generations of cells could now exist from a single sample taken in 1972?
March 6, 2012 11:51 AM Subscribe
If a sample of cells was taken in 1972, reproduced in laboratory by cell division to create a cell line used in science today based originally on the sample, what "generation" of cell would be used today, and how far back in history BC/E would a comparable human generation be? Is that even calculable?
posted by Quarter Pincher to science & nature (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
HEK293 is in the news, a sampling taken from an aborted fetus in ~1972 (who presumably would have been aborted anyway and discarded) that created a cell line called HEK293 that is used in science labs around the country today.
If we were to say, "that would be like calling you the same person as your great-great-great(1.0x10^z)-grandfather," what might that number be? Would it not be absurdly astronomical?