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Scientists grow new teeth out of urine

Jul 30, 2013

Good news: When you get old and your teeth get nasty from a lifetime of exposure to red wine, cigarettes and junk food (and whatever the hell is in kombucha) scientists may be able to make you a fresh clean pair: Out of pee.

BBC reports that Chinese scientists at the Guangzhou Institutes of Biomedicine and Health used urine as a starting point, harvested cells from the collected pee, coaxed the cells into stem cells, and implanted them into the body with a mix of other organic materials, and voila—they started growing teeth. Or at least a “tooth-like structure.”

Oh, and this was with a mouse, not a human. But the experiment was done with a view toward replacing lost teeth in humans.

“The tooth-like structure contained dental pulp, dentin, enamel space and enamel organ,” the researchers said. But it sounds like the pee tooth (#pisstooth) has a ways to go. “The ‘teeth’ were not as hard as natural teeth,” notes BBC.

Also for what it’s worth other researchers sound more than a little skeptical. Chris Mason, a stem cell scientist at University College London, said trying to use pee as a basis for teeth basically makes no sense. “You just wouldn’t do it in this way.” he said. “[Urine] is probably one of the worst sources, there are very few cells in the first place and the efficiency of turning them into stem cells is very low.”

There is also the slight problem that they are made out of pee.

Mason “warned that the risk of contamination, such as through bacteria, was much higher than with other sources of cells,” writes BBC.

So yeah—you might be able to grow some new pissteeth in the future. But you may not want to.

Image: Shutterstock


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