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Master gene creates natural-born killers

The New Scientist reports that the discovery of the master gene behind the front-line troops of the body's immune system could promise a host of new treatments for disease. Called E4BP4, the gene kick-starts production of natural killer (NK) cells in the bone marrow.

Mice genetically engineered to lack the gene were able to make all other components of the immune system – such as B cells which produce antibodies and T cells which attack pre-selected targets – but not NK cells. This suggests that E4BP4 is indispensable for their production.
 
 

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