Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Scientists make stunning inner space observations

from Science Codex by University of Leicester:

Scientists using high-powered microscopes have made a stunning observation of the architecture within a cell – and identified for the first time how the architecture changes during the formation of gametes, also known as sex cells, in order to successfully complete the process.

The findings by the international team led by the University of Leicester could impact on the treatment of disorders caused by a misregulation of cellular structures called microtubules. These disorders include Down syndrome, lissencephaly (a brain formation disorder) or cancer.

By exploiting yeast cells, the researchers have discovered for the first time the precise structure adopted by microtubules, which play a vital role in the process of gamete formation, and identified the protein responsible for creating the structure. They further found that the protein needs to be regulated in order to complete gamete formation, failure of which may lead to production of gametes with the wrong number of chromosomes. In humans, these may contribute to disorders such as Down sydrome that result from chromosomal abnormalities.

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