Monday, February 3, 2014

Science, er, Monday...

Okay, science Sunday happened for what, three weeks? Yeah, then I figured out I was pregnant (love that morning sickness) and basically gave myself permission to do nothing except eat and wallow in my misery until the bad part of pregnancy passed.

Guess what! I feel better now! And it only took 'till about halfway through the pregnancy. Wahoo! So, since I now feel more like myself, I'm going to go back to blogging a little bit of science and how it intersects (or could intersect writing) every week. Even if I'm the only one reading this blog, hey, at least it makes me feel productive. Who knows, I might even throw in a flash fiction piece once in a while to turn this into a REAL writing blog.


This week's easy. This article reviews recent advances in reprogramming cell lines, specifically looking at neural cells. Cell types do what they do because of the genes that are turned on and off. During development cells go from what's called a pleuripotent state, in which daughter cells can become any cell type (stem cells) to a differentiated state, where all daughter cells have the same function as the parent cell. A couple of years ago, the Nobel Prize was awarded to John Gurdon and Shinya Yamanaka for demonstrating that cell lines can be returned to a pleuripotent state using the right signals, and from there turned into any cell type.

The review above specifically talks about turning non-neurons into neurons. Shades of "Flowers for Algernon" anyone? As cool as the science is I got shivers thinking about how eerily prescient "Flowers for Algernon" might just be.

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