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Thread: stem cell research

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    Senior Member giambjj's Avatar
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    This link is to an article about genes that are expressed by stem cells. Many such studies have been carried out to identify genes expressed by stem cells. The problem is that 99% of the genes do not cause the cells to be stem cells but simply are genes expressed by stem cells. It is not easy to show that a particular gene is the reason why a cell is or becomes a stem cell. Here are some reasons why:
    1. A gene may not express in a stem cell but may be necessary and sufficient for the cell to become a stem cell. Transient expression of a gene may be necessary for a cell to be or become a stem cell but that gene may subsequently not express itself at all. So, there may be genes that don't show up at all on gene chip analysis of stem cells but are essential for cells to become a stem cell.
    2. A gene may be expressed by a stem cell but may not be necessary nor sufficient for the cell to be stem cell. So, for example, if one deletes the gene, the cell may continue to behave like a stem cell. If one expresses that gene in a non-stem cell, it may not cause the cell to become a stem cell.


    As we learn more about stem cells, it has become clear that there are progressively more restrictions on stem cells as they mature. The fertilized egg is the *original stem cell*. It doesn't need any other cell but itsself to produce embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells need to come into contact with the uterus to develop further. Fetal stem cells need to come into contact with other development cells to develop further. In adults, stem cells need to interact with specific niches of cells in order to produce tissue-specific cells.

    Timing is important.

    Wise.
    Last edited by Wise Young; 06-26-2007 at 11:45 AM.

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