Friday, 05 July 2013 11:02

Cholera Promotes Natural Selection; Liver Created from Stem Cells

Written by  ASCB Post Staff
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liverScanning electron micrograph of the liver.
Liver cells are shown in brown,
sinusoids are pink, bile canaliculi are green,
RBCs in red are seen in the sinusoids.
Wellcome Image Award winner 2009.
Cholera is changing the human genome, according to research published in Science Translational Medicine on Wednesday. The investigators scanned the genomes of individuals living in the Ganges Delta of Bangladesh and West Bengal in India, where cholera is prevalent. ScienceNow and the New York Times report that the researchers found 305 regions of the genome with changes due to cholera, evidence that natural selection made its mark on the genes over the past 5,000 to 30,000 years.

For the first time, scientists were able to create functional human liver buds from stem cells, Reuters reports. Japanese researchers used embryonic stem cells and reprogrammed them to make the three cell types that form a liver in a developing embryo. When transplanted into mice, these liver "patches" connected to the mouse's blood vessels and performed liver functions, according to the New York Times. The research was published in Nature on Wednesday.