UMD researchers discover a way that animals keep their cells identical

Roundworms (Caenorhabditis elegans) with a disabled eri-1 gene can lose their ability to control repetitive DNA. In the absence of eri-1, even two age-matched siblings can look dramatically different. These… view more Cancers arise in skin, muscle, liver or other types of tissue when one cell becomes different from its neighbors. Although biologists have learned a lot about how tissues form during development, very little is known about how two cells of the same tissue stay identical for an animal’s entire lifetime. A University of Maryland research team is the first to discover that a regulatory protein named ERI-1 helps ensure that all cells in a tissue remain identical to one another. The work involved collaboration between developmental biologists and computer scientists, with the latter contributing their expertise with machine…


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