What is been labeled “ethical stem cell research” which is adult stem cell research, has had another break through again. Using retroviruses to insert into the genes from a mouse and human skin cells causing them to revert back to their embryonic state (known as induced pluripotent stem cells).
Reprogramming genes into the chromosomes has been avoided up until now with the latest research as reported in New Scientist…
“Last year, for instance, a team led by Konrad Hochedlinger of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston put the reprogramming genes into adenoviruses, which live for only a short while in a cell and don’t normally jump into its chromosomes. The technique worked in mouse liver cells – but was very inefficient.”
“Now two groups of researchers have taken a different approach, using a system that puts the genes into chromosomes, but allows them to subsequently be removed.”
“Rather than using viruses, the researchers instead turned to a “transposable element” known as piggyBac. Originally found in insects, piggyBac is a parasitic stretch of DNA that can move around the genome, cutting and pasting itself into a chromosome where the genetic sequence reads “TTAA”.
The new method allowed scientists to study those cells (piggyBac) which had only a 40 percent chance of reinserting themselves back in the chromosomes.
“Whether the method catches on may depend on rival researchers’ success in attempts to devise simpler methods that don’t require the reprogramming genes. For instance, Sheng Ding of the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, is experimenting with reprogramming using small-molecule drugs.”
One of the rare articles, that deals with scientific studies which doesn’t try to explain it by using evolution. In fact, the theory of evolution is not needed in these experiements. A breath of fresh air, but also what’s also exciting is the fact that advancements in this type of research is progressing well which may lead to much better treatments for cancer!