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Drago Ikić promotes the use of human cell culture


The Hayflick limit
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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And activities then centred on the chromosomal characterisation of the cells, because it was by this time learned that as the cells approached their... their limited capacity to replicate, a state that I call 'Phase three' – I described the lineage of these cell populations as phase one, which is the period of the primary culture, phase two is the 40 or so period where the cells are actively dividing, and phase three is a period when the cells have stopped dividing.

People generally have called phase three the 'Hayflick Limit'; perhaps I should say a word about the derivation of that term. The derivation occurred in the mid-'60s by a gentleman well-known in the scientific field, at least that time, Sir Macfarlane Burnet, an Australian Nobel Prize laureate who knew about my work and, indeed, made a visit to the Wistar Institute to see Hilary at one time and I was introduced to him then. He went on to write books in several fields outside of the one that he was expert in, which, namely, immunology, and he did a book in which he discussed aging. And in that book, he called what I had observed the 'Hayflick Limit', which is the origin of that term. So, I have Sir Macfarlane Burnet to either thank or not for the use of that term.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Macfarlane Burnet

Duration: 2 minutes, 6 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012