Mouse made from scratch. (Just add stem cells!)

Scientific American really does incur a sense of wonder and mystery sometimes. Here’s a group of scientists who have turned a bunch of stem cells into a living mouse:

Xiao Xiao, as the rodent is called in its native Chinese, was one of dozens created from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) and born to a surrogate mother. …

Researchers used a virus to deliver four genes into fibroblast cells taken from adult mice, triggering the change to iPS cells. These cells were then implanted into an embryo that didn’t have the requisite genetic information for it to develop beyond a placenta. That these implanted embryos developed into full baby mice proved that these cells could indeed do all the work of natural embryonic stem cells.

1. Embryonic stem cells are already taking a back seat to the pluripotent kind.

2. They can make something alive from parts. Not only alive, but capable of reproducing – they’ve got third-generation descendants of these little stem cell mice crawling around.