Image via WikipediaJapanese scientists now report an easy, plentiful, if slightly strange, source of stem-cells, from which all kinds of amazing medical breakthroughs are possible. Namely, the pulp inside human teeth. As reported by Discovery news.
Millions of people require surgery when their "wisdom teeth," an extra set of molars that grow in people's mid-20s, grows in improperly and requires removal. These are thrown away. In the past, people would have found those teeth useful, as it would have replaced one that had fallen out. Now, we tend to keep all our teeth, and the extra ones just don't fit in our jaws. Now, these extracted teeth will be the source of massive lines of stem cells, ready to help medicine in a big way.
The scientists claim that a tooth extracted from a Japanese person will produce cells compatible with 20% of the Japanese population. (The compatibility is probably higher because of the unusual homogeneity in the Japanese population.) They seek to raise this percentage through biological reverse-engineering.