Scientists announce stem-cell discovery

Apr 20, 2006

U.S. scientists say they've uncovered signatures near crucial developmental genes -- a critical step toward creating embryonic stem cells for medicine.

Harvard Medical School researchers say the unique molecular imprints discovered coupled to DNA in mouse embryonic stem cells help explain the cells' ability to form almost any body cell type.

The scientists say the imprints, or "signatures," appear near the master genes that control embryonic development and probably coordinate their in the early stages of cell differentiation. Not only do the findings help to unlock the basis for embryonic stem cells' seemingly unlimited potential but the researchers say they also suggest ways to understand why ordinary cells are so limited in their abilities to repair or replace damaged cells.

"This is an entirely new and unexpected discovery," said Brad Bernstein, lead author of the study, an assistant professor at Harvard and a researcher in the Chemical Biology program at the Broad Institute. "It has allowed us to glimpse the molecular strategies that cells use to maintain an almost infinite potential, which will have important applications to our understanding of normal biology and disease."

The discovery appears in the April 21 issue of the journal Cell.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers create methylation maps of Neanderthals and Denisovans, compare them to modern humans

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Embryonic stem cells: Reprogramming in early embryos

Mar 26, 2014

An Oregon Health & Science University scientist has been able to make embryonic stem cells from adult mouse body cells using the cytoplasm of two-cell embryos that were in the "interphase" stage of the cell ...

New technique for identifying gene-enhancers

Mar 24, 2014

An international team led by researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has developed a new technique for identifying gene enhancers - sequences of DNA that act to amplify the ...

Recommended for you

Study finds law dramatically curbing need for speed

Apr 18, 2014

Almost seven years have passed since Ontario's street-racing legislation hit the books and, according to one Western researcher, it has succeeded in putting the brakes on the number of convictions and, more importantly, injuries ...

Newlyweds, be careful what you wish for

Apr 17, 2014

A statistical analysis of the gift "fulfillments" at several hundred online wedding gift registries suggests that wedding guests are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to buying an appropriate gift for the ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

Clippers and coiners in 16th-century England

In 2017 a new £1 coin will appear in our pockets with a design extremely difficult to forge. In the mid-16th century, Elizabeth I's government came up with a series of measures to deter "divers evil persons" ...

Airbnb rental site raises $450 mn

Online lodging listings website Airbnb inked a $450 million funding deal with investors led by TPG, a source close to the matter said Friday.

Health care site flagged in Heartbleed review

People with accounts on the enrollment website for President Barack Obama's signature health care law are being told to change their passwords following an administration-wide review of the government's vulnerability to the ...