Cold Spring Harbor, NY – Scientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and the University of Southern California (USC) have uncovered intriguing new evidence helping to explain one of the ways in which a stem cell’s fate can be determined.
The new data show how the “marking” of DNA sequences by groups of methyl molecules – a process called methylation – can influence the type of cell a stem cell will become. The cellular maturation process, called differentiation, has long been thought to be affected by methylation. Subtle changes in methylation patterns within subsets of a particular cell type have now been observed and closely scrutinized, and they reveal some intriguing mechanisms at work in the process.
A team led by postdoc Dr. Emily Hodges, working in the laboratory of CSHL Professor and HHMI Investigator Gregory Hannon, studied how methylation changes in blood stem cells can affect whether a given stem cell will differentiate into either a myeloid cell or a lymphoid cell. These are the two major lineages of mature blood cells. Sophisticated mathematical analyses of the data were performed under the direction of USC Professor Andrew D. Smith…
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