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The Art in Science

Product Image Henrietta's Legacy

Henrietta's Legacy

Delaney Rudolph, Research Laboratory Specialist, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Michigan Medical School

The image shows human cells that were originally isolated in 1951 from the cervical carcinoma tumor of Henrietta Lacks. The story of Henrietta Lacks and her cells can be found in the book, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot. Neither Henrietta nor her family were informed at the time that her tumor cells were harvested and successfully grown in the laboratory. This was the first human cell line ever to be propagated in the laboratory; it has now been used for medical research worldwide for over 60 years. In this photomicrograph, the HeLa cells were stained with fluorescent markers to reveal the genomic DNA (blue), nuclear proteins (green) and the cytoskeleton (red).