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New study suggests stem cells sabotage their own DNA to produce new tissues
Date:2/15/2010

ogrammed cell death. When they blocked this DNA-cutting protein, they also blocked muscle development. They also showed that when the DNA cutting occurs at a key gene known to promote muscle development, it activates that gene and induces the development of new muscle.

"Our research suggests that when a gene is damaged, it can actually increase the expression of that gene, as long as the damage is repaired quickly. This is a novel way for a gene to become activated," says Dr. Megeney. "We've shown that this process is crucial for the development of new muscle tissue, but we believe it may be important for the development of most other tissues as well."

The discovery has important implications for a number of areas. It could help researchers develop better ways to activate stem cells, so that they can produce new tissues for therapeutic purposes. It also suggests that DNA mutations, which can contribute to a variety of diseases, may initially occur as a result of a normal cellular process. And it has implications for researchers developing therapies that inhibit programmed cell death, suggesting that such therapies may also inhibit normal tissue development.


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Contact: Jennifer Paterson
jpaterson@ohri.ca
613-798-5555 x73325
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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