Fruit fly bodies bank stem cells

Protective pockets hold reserves until it's time for stem cells to become intestinal cells

5:23pm, January 7, 2010

Stem cells lead sheltered lives. A new study of fruit flies shows how stem cell precursors create their own niches where the developing cells can safely hang out. These cell banks give the fly a reserve of stem cells to draw on later to create and replenish organs, make new cells or repair wounds.

A stem cell in the fruit fly gut divides, creating a daughter cell that wraps itself around its mother and siblings and prevents them from turning into specialized tissues, researchers from Columbia University report online January 7 in Science.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from this issue of Science News