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Giving Cells a Fresh Start

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) researchers and their colleagues have identified an enzyme that can effectively wipe a cell’s developmental slate clean, essentially giving a fresh start. The enzyme, which is thought to help genetically reprogram fertilized eggs as part of normal development, may help scientists create stem cells and arrest the growth of cancers.

The new research, reported in an online article in the journal Nature on January 6, 2010, represents a collaborative effort of scientists from the laboratories of HHMI investigator Yi Zhang at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and Teruhiko Wakayama at the Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe, Japan. Coauthors of the article are Yuki Okada and Kwonho Hong, postdoctoral researchers in Zhang’s lab, and Kazuo Yamagata of the Wakayama lab.

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