June 27, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Stem Cells Protect Against Defective Copies

The Pasteur Institute (see Louis Pasteur) has found evidence supporting a controversial theory known as the “immortal DNA” theory.  According to News-Medical.Net, researchers at the institute believe that stem cells keep the best copies and allow only defective ones to differentiate and specialize.  If so, this may be another mechanism for minimizing the effects of mutations.  The lead scientist said,

this is an exciting finding, as it seems to defy one of the basic rules of cell biology and genetics: that genetic material is distributed randomly.  It appears that the cellular machinery distinguishes old from new when it comes to DNA, and it may use this distinction to protect the body from mutations and cancer.  It is also possible that this mechanism is used to silence gene expression in the stem cell.

According to the press release, the research was published in Nature Cell Biology.

Oh no, this is bad news for us Darwinians.  We need those mutations to advance the tree of life.  If the ID people get hold of this, it will give them another hammer to beat us with.  Let’s pre-empt it with a good just-so story.  Can somebody come up with one?  Anyone?

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Categories: Genetics

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