Nature created us and made every organismunique in its structure. Every organ and every cell plays a role in the whole organism. And some of them can even amaze. After all, the loss of one will launch a chain of events that can lead to irreparable consequences. But bioengineers are constantly looking for ways to, like nature, replace or improve parts of the body. Research is moving towards creating artificial organs that could potentially save the lives of people with organ failure. To create artificial organs, you first need to understand stem cells and the genetic instructions that govern their remarkable properties.
Stem cells and their role
Joshua researcher Mark Brickman discoveredthe origin of a master gene that controls the network that controls stem cells. To achieve better results in the study of stem cells, it is necessary to understand the gene regulatory network that controls pluripotent stem cells. Studying the evolutionary process that led to the improvement of the functions of these cells can help in creating more efficient copies in the laboratory.
The essence of pluripotent stem cells is thatthey are able, as it were, to turn into other types of cells, for example, heart cells. Studying how pluripotent stem cells develop in the heart could help create them in the laboratory and lead to new advances in medicine.
How will ancient fish help in the creation of organs?
Scientists say that the study of fish, sometimescalled a "living fossil" could lead to a better understanding of stem cells and their pluripotency properties commonly associated with mammals.
Recent studies by a group of scientists have shown thatthe coelacanth, a fish that lived almost 400 million years ago and is a member of a different class from mammals, has a master gene that controls stem cells and maintains their pluripotency. This gene, called OCT-4 in humans and mice, can be replaced with a version of the coelacanth gene in mouse stem cells.
This is very important because the central factor,which controls the gene network in stem cells appears to have already existed early in evolution, confirming the deep connection between fish and mammals and also demonstrating that stem cells have a deep root origin.
In addition, the study of fish cells such ascoelacanth, allows scientists to better understand the evolutionary history and development of the cells themselves. It's interesting to note that the farther back in evolutionary history, the simpler the organisms were, which could help scientists isolate the most important genes and traits that formed early on.
Evolution of the structure of animal proteins
More than 40 animals, including sharks, mice and kangaroos, were studied by the researchers. The selection of animals was made in such a way as to provide a good sample of the main branching points in evolution.
With the help of artificial intelligence,3D models of various OCT-4 proteins were built. Studying these patterns has allowed researchers to discover that the overall structure of a protein is conserved throughout evolution. Some parts of the proteins that are important for stem cells do not change. But other parts that do not seem to be related to the first may change their position depending on the species. Which, in essence, affects how well they can support the ability of stem cells to develop into different types of cells. The researchers hope that this data will help them create artificial organs, which would be impossible without the use of modern technology and this discovery.
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Thus, the study of fish and its cells canlead to important discoveries in the field of stem cells and their properties, as well as give scientists new ways to improve the methods of growing organs in the laboratory.