What was Henrietta Lacks contribution to science and the controversy about her immortal cell?

3 Answers

  • Randal
    Lv 7
    10 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Why are her cells so important?

    Henrietta’s cells were the first immortal human cells ever grown in culture. They were essential to developing the polio vaccine. They went up in the first space missions to see what would happen to cells in zero gravity. Many scientific landmarks since then have used her cells, including cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization.

    There has been a lot of confusion over the years about the source of HeLa cells. Why?

    When the cells were taken, they were given the code name HeLa, for the first two letters in Henrietta and Lacks. Today, anonymizing samples is a very important part of doing research on cells. But that wasn’t something doctors worried about much in the 1950s, so they weren’t terribly careful about her identity. When some members of the press got close to finding Henrietta’s family, the researcher who’d grown the cells made up a pseudonym—Helen Lane—to throw the media off track. Other pseudonyms, like Helen Larsen, eventually showed up, too. Her real name didn’t really leak out into the world until the 1970s.


    I hope this information makes sense and is helpful in answering your question. I also suggest reading all the information on the referenced site.

  • 4 years ago

    Henrietta Lacks Controversy

  • Verity
    Lv 7
    10 years ago

    I strongly recommend that you read Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks".

    Henrietta may have died in 1951, but her cells are still alive, dividing, and making medical


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