Tissue culture as a technique was first used almost 100 years ago to elucidate some of the most basic questions in developmental biology. Ross Harrison at the Rockefeller Institute, in an attempt to observe living, developing nerve fibers, cultured frog embryo tissues in plasma clots for 1 to 4 weeks (Harrison, 1907). He was able to observe the development and outgrowth of nerve fibers in these cultures. In 1912, Alexis Carrel, also at the Rockefeller Institute, attempted to improve the state of the art of animal cell culture with experiments on the culture of chick embryo tissue:

The purpose of the experiments … was to determine the conditions under which the active life of a tissue outside the organism could be prolonged indefinitely. It might be supposed that senility and death of cultures, instead of being necessary, resulted merely from preventable occurrences; such as accumulation of catabolic substances and exhaustion of the medium… It is even conceivable that the length of life of a tissue outside the organism could greatly exceed its normal duration in the body. (Carrel, 1912, p. 9)


Granulosa Cell Plasma Clot Animal Cell Culture Rockefeller Institute Human Diploid Cell Strain 
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© Plenum Press, New York 1998

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