|JACOBS UNIVERSITY BREMEN
Neurobiological surprise: Fish brain cells with marked aberrations in chromosome number develop into neurons capable of long-term survival
Günther Zupanc, Jacobs Professor of Neurobiology, for the first time provided evidence that even a profound deviation from the number of chromosomes typical for a species does not necessarily result in programmed death of the cells affected or in physiological and behavioural deficiencies of the organism. Analysis of the brain of adult healthy knifefish, in which every fifth newly formed cell markedly deviates from the “normal” number of chromosomes, showed that the aberrant cells can develop into neurons with a long-term survival until the organism’s natural death. The study is published in the current issue of Developmental Neurobiology (68: S. 1257–1268, 2008)
Established scientific doctrine for a long time has assumed that every cell of an organism contains identical genetic information encoded by a species-specific number of chromosomes, with the exception of sperms and eggs with half the number. Humans, for example, have 46 in total, 22 pairs of autosomal chromosomes and two sex chromosomes. Aberration from the regular number, so-called aneuploidy, was thought to usually result in either the elimination of affected cells by programmed cell death or in severe diseases. Down Syndrome, for instance, which is caused by the presence of an extra 21st chromosome in all, or part of the, body’s cells, leads to physical and mental disabilities in humans; and recent studies showed that most, if not all, malignant tumors exhibit marked variations in chromosome number among their cells.
Author: Kristin Beck. Last updated on 15.08.2008. © 2008 Jacobs University Bremen, Campus Ring 1, 28759 Bremen. All rights reserved. No unauthorized reproduction. http://www.jacobs-university.de. For all general inquiries, please call the university at +49 421 200-40 or mail to email@example.com.