Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Making muscle

Several scientific journals are having a robust and quirky sense of humor these days. I have to pass on this take-off on the Charles Atlas comic advertisements used to describe work by Xu et al. in which a factor obtained from culture of zebrafish embryos is used to induce skeletal muscle differentiation in human induced pluripotent stem cells.

Cell description: The cover catroon tells the story, reported in Xu et al., of an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC, shown here in a red t-shirt) that cannot make muscle. When a “bully” researcher tries to steal the postdoctoral fellow working with the iPSC, it's back to the lab, where the fellow uses a zebrafish model to discover chemicals that can turn the iPSC into muscle. Facing down the bully, the postdoctoral fellow rides high on his success. This concept was adapted from Charles Atlas comic advertisements related to bodybuilding. Cover artwork by Athens Qin.

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