Something New About Something Familiar April 14, 2010Posted by ecogeeko10 in Biology, Genetics, Health, Medicine.
Hey! Remember that one little concept in biology that you learned in your 8th grade science class? That one little process that really has no other function…except to make life happen! Anyways, I’m talking about mitosis. Well just recently, scientists have found and identified the genes that are involved in this cell division process! This was no small task, though. In order to find these genes, the researchers had to sort through the 22,000 genes contained in the human cell. They did this by silencing or inactivating the genes and filming them—one by one—for 48 hours under a microscope. This was made a little more possible, though, through the help of a newly formed computer program that was able to help analyze the footage. This computer program was able to analyze 200,000 time-elapsed movies of mitosis (I really envy that computer…) and ultimately pin-point the 600 genes that play a role in the cell division process. Cool huh?
With this newly gained knowledge, scientists can now better understand how cell division works in normally functioning cells, but most importantly, researchers can potentially pin-point what makes mitosis go array in abnormally functioning cancer cells. This will greatly help medical physicians to more accurately diagnose patients and it will also help them in making decisions on the best way to treat certain illness.
Unfortunately, researchers have yet to find out how these genes act at the molecular level, but when they do, they will be sure to make this data freely available online—just like they did with the recent mitosis research!
…everyday it seems like we are getting closer and closer to finding a cure for cancer.