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Cold Spring Harbor Protocols features organ and cell culture methods

COLD SPRING HARBOR, N.Y. (Mon., Nov. 3, 2008) Understanding the function of organs like the brain, kidney, and reproductive tissues requires experimental systems that allow for the study and manipulation of developing cells and tissues in the laboratory. This month's issue of Cold Spring Harbor Protocols ( features two articles with detailed instructions for setting up these experimental culture systems. Both methods are derived from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's renowned Molecular Embryology of the Mouse course (

Neural progenitor cells, which are destined to contribute to the nervous system, are often difficult to identify. "Isolation, Culture and Differentiation of Progenitor Cells from the Central Nervous System," from Larysa Pevny's laboratory at the University of North Carolina (, describes the neurosphere assay, which allows one to identify neural progenitor cells as well as to determine both their self-renewal capacity and their ability to generate three primary cell types of the nervous system: neurons, astrocytes and oligodendrocytes. The protocol is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (

Blanche Capel's laboratory at Duke University ( provides "Preparing Recombinant Gonad Organ Cultures." It can be useful to assay migration between any two adjacent tissues during development. This protocol assays cell migration between the developing gonad and kidney using tissue recombination, combined with an organ culture technique. This method is freely accessible on the website for Cold Spring Harbor Protocols (


Contact: David Crotty
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

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