Stories tagged Stem cells

Jan
13
2006


Fruit Fly - Drosophilidae: Drosophila melanogaster Photo by André Karwath

Human and mouse cells are continuously replenished with stem cells, and when they are not regulated correctly, common digestive diseases and cancer can occur. Insects had not been investigated until recently when adult fruit flies (Drosophila) were found to have the same stem cells controlling cell regulation in their gut as humans. This is reported by Benjamin Ohlstein and Allan Spradling at The Carnegie Institution of Washington, Maryland. The similarity in intestinal stem cells of the fruit fly includes their being multipotent, which means that the stem cells can turn into different cell types in both insects and humans. This research helps in developing cures for digestive disorders including some cancers, and indicates that insects and humans were derived from the same evolutionary pathway more than 500 million year ago.