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Growing human skin on a plant?


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Would it be possible to genetically modify a plant to grow human skin? I think that this would work as and amazing fabric, and i have been reading up oon a machine that picks fruit automatically and they are trying to make a fabric that mimics human skin because they would grasp the fruit very well.

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Would it be possible to genetically modify a plant to grow human skin? I think that this would work as and amazing fabric, and i have been reading up oon a machine that picks fruit automatically and they are trying to make a fabric that mimics human skin because they would grasp the fruit very well.

 

Not feasible as you're stating it. Right now, bacteria have been modified to produce a ton of useful enzymes, and some pharmaceutical compounds. And trans-species and even trans-"kingdom" knock-ins are certainly done, but what you're suggesting has some problems. First, and most importantly, there isn't a single gene or set of genes (like an operon) for "skin". They're cells...human tissue...and a huge portion of the genome is used to build and maintain cells. In other words, practically the entire coding portion of the human genome would need to be knocked into the plant, to make this idea work.

 

But that's not the only problem. Skin, being tissue, needs a constant blood supply, complete with fresh nutrients, ability to remove wastes, and appropriate partial pressures of various gases. As it wouldn't be attached to an immune system, it would need to be reared in a biobubble/sterile setup. Also, as it stands right now, human tissue culture is notoriously difficult to maintain in vitro, barring transformed tissue (cancer), and that's controlling for all the variables I just mentioned. There are a ton of other variables going into this, but this is all just to say it's probably not going to happen.

 

In terms of the human skin substitute, they've been trying to generate this for years for burn victims. I recall hearing a program on npr saying that potato skin can be made into a worthy temporary substitute for a number of reasons, and that there were new (new at the time, that is; I heard this maybe eight years ago)and effective, but expensive, pseudo-skin products being manufactured. Given that what you're saying has a different intended use, it may not be a good sub for skin in that context. Wonder why they don't just use leather?

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