Emory study yields clue to how stem cells form

An Emory University study shows some of the first direct evidence of a process required for epigenetic reprogramming between generations – a finding that could shed more light on the mechanisms of fertilization, stem-cell formation and cloning. The journal Cell published the results of the study on the nematode C. elegans in its April 17 issue.

"We believe that we have demonstrated one of the processes that erases the information in a fertilized egg, so that the offspring can begin life with a clean slate," says David Katz, lead author of the study. Katz is a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of William Kelly, associate professor of biology at Emory and a co-author of the study.

"One of the most fundamental mysteries in biology is how a sperm and egg create a new organism. By looking at the process at the molecular level, we’re gaining understanding of this basic question of life," Katz says.

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