“The spark for that change was in the crestin gene, which should only be active in embryonic tissue but became inappropriately activated again, resulting in melanoma,” according to the article online at www.newvision.co.ug/. One of the authors of the study said “the beginning of cancer occurs after activation of an oncogene or loss of a tumor suppressor, and involves a change that takes a single cell back to a stem cell state.”
Now a fish is not a human being, so this information is a long way from having practical application in your doctor’s office. But the principle behind this discovery will guide further research and additional hoped-for developments.
Our bodies are born with X number of neurons, which are the parts of the nervous system that carry chemical and electrical messages between the brain and other body parts. Up until now, no one has found neurons reproducing like regular cells do.
They’ve only done this in mice so far. But it’s clear this discovery constitutes a breakthrough in understanding a whole set of long, non-coding RNA molecules that researchers have heretofore assumed were just there–with no known function. One scientist called these the “dark matter” of the human genome, meaning there’s a lot more of this stuff than there is of the DNA we’ve already explored and named.
Another whole new world of knowledge is just beginning to crack open.
Can’t keep up with all the exciting research going on with stem cells and gene therapy. I imagine many of the researchers might feel a little like a kid who just discovered clay – and found you can do almost anything with it.
First up is a project in which researchers identified why older creatures can take so long to recover from muscle injuries. They found that muscle stem cells in mice were not dividing and renewing themselves the way younger stem cells do.
Next up, pigs who were suffering from heart block (their heart rate was too slow) were injected with a human gene into a tiny area of the pumping heart that allowed researchers to reprogram “heart muscle cells into a type of cell that emits electrical impulses to drive the beating heart.” The pigs’ heart rates were restored to normal for two weeks.