Gray hair may be a mark of distinction in some circles, but it’s also a sign of a depleted stem cell population. DNA damage causes stem cells that produce hair-color cells in mice to lose their “stemness,” leaving brown hair gray, a report in the June 12 Cell shows. The results suggest a new way stem cell populations can be depleted as cells accumulate DNA damage over time.
The new study “opens up a new paradigm for how we’re going to study stem cell aging in many systems,” comments Kevin Mills of the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The report “fills in what’s been a hole in our understanding of stem cell biology.”
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