Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Witness Relocation Program" for cells doesn't quite work.

Wow. This is just so wicked cool.  Cells have memories, and they are pretty hard to wipe out. Check out the whole thing at Not Exactly Rocket Science.  Very well written, and very easy to understand.  And to think, until somewhat recently methyl groups were thought to be just a waste of space.

The history of iPSCs is written in molecular marks that annotate its DNA. These ‘epigenetic’ changes can alter the way a gene behaves even though its DNA sequence is still the same. It’s the equivalent of sticking Post-It notes in a book to tell a reader which parts to read or ignore, without actually editing the underlying text. Epigenetic marks separate different types of cells from one another, influencing which genes are switched on and which are inactivated. And according to Kim, they’re not easy to remove, even when the cell has apparently been reprogrammed into a stem-like state.

Go read the whole thing.

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