In an article published in nature: International Journal of Science, researchers investigated a method for detecting mutations and measuring gene expression in individual blood progenitor cells. The ‘decision’ that progenitor cells make as to which cell type to become is generally determined by the signals that they receive from their immediate surroundings. However, mutations that sometimes arise in these progenitor cells can result in the signals being blocked, over-amplified or simply ignored, resulting in the enrichment or depletion of specific cell types and, in some cases, production of cancerous clones. Understanding how mutations in progenitor cells lead to changes in the production of different cell types is a key question.
“In theory, GoT and similar approaches could be used to study any cancer. They have the potential to precisely determine the effects of mutations in known genes on downstream cell-development states and to establish whether certain mutations are sufficient to induce cancer. These insights, in turn, could shed light on the mechanisms that underlie the evolution of clonal lineages of cells in cancer.”
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