Equal rights for (stem cell) daughters

October 28, 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve been thinking about writing about these papers for a while, but Nature just beat me to it.*  (I am definitely behind on my posting!)  A smidgen of information to encourage you to read more: when people talk about how stem cells manage to divide indefinitely, they usually argue that there is some kind of asymmetric division in which the stem-cell-ness of the stem cell stays with one daughter, which can then continue to divide in perpetuity.  The other daughter is marked for differentiation and (eventual) death.  Two experimental groups (Douglas  Winton‘s lab and Hans Clevers‘ lab) collaborated with a team of  theorists (Allon Klein and Ben Simons) and came up with what looks like strong evidence that, in the context of intestinal stem cells, this cannot be true.  Instead, it appears both daughters have equal stem cell potential; which has significant consequences for the way we thought stem cell numbers were controlled.  Take a look.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

* Oh.  And so did Developmental Cell.

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