Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Similar Stem Cells In Insect And Human Gut

Date:
December 9, 2005
Source:
Carnegie Institution
Summary:
The six-legged fruitfly appears to have little in common with humans, but a new finding shows that they are really just tiny, distant cousins. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Embryology have found that adult fruitflies have the same stem cells controlling cell regulation in their gut as humans do. The research is important for understanding digestive disorders, including some cancers, and for developing cures.

Watercolor illustration of Drosophila by Edith M. Wallace, Thomas Hunt Morgan’s illustrator. This image was published in C.B. Bridges and T.H. Morgan, Contributions to the Genetics of Drosophila melanogaster (Washington, DC: Carnegie Institution; 1919), CIW publication #278.

The six-legged fruitfly appears to have little in common with humans, but a new finding shows that they are really just tiny, distant cousins. Scientists at the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology have found that adult fruitflies have the same stem cells controlling cell regulation in their gut as humans do. The research is important for understanding digestive disorders, including some cancers, and for developing cures. “The fact that fruitflies have the same genetic programming in their intestines as humans, strongly suggests that we were both cut from the same evolutionary cloth more than 500 million years ago,” stated lead author of the December 7, on-line Nature paper, Benjamin Ohlstein.

Related Articles


It may come as a surprise, but insects have the same basic structure to their gastrointestinal tract as vertebrates. They have a mouth, an esophagus, the equivalent to a stomach, and large and small intestines. The Carnegie researchers looked at their small intestines, where food is broken down into its constituent nutrients for the body to absorb. They focused on two cell types-- cells that line the small and large intestines in a single layer to help break up and transport food molecules, called enterocytes; and cells that produce peptide hormones, some of whose functions include regulation of gastric motility as well as growth and differentiation of the gut (enteroendocrine cells).

In vertebrates, cells of the intestines are continually replenished by stem cells. Up to now, stem cells had not been observed in the gut of the fruitfly. To see if stem cells were at work, the researchers labeled each of the two cell types of interest and observed how successive generations of the cells transformed. They found for the first time that, like their vertebrate cousins, the fly cell types are replenished by stem cells. Moreover, like vertebrates, the stem cells are multipotent, which means that they can turn into different cell types, and that Notch signaling is as essential in flies in controlling how stem cells transform into different intestinal cells as it is in humans. Notch signaling was also found to instruct stem cells how to differentiate, a role that has as yet to be identified for Notch signaling in vertebrates.
Allan Spradling, co-author, director of the Carnegie department, and a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator commented, “We’re excited because we know from previous experience that studying a process in a model system, such as the fruitfly, can greatly accelerate our understanding of the corresponding human process.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Carnegie Institution. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Carnegie Institution. "Similar Stem Cells In Insect And Human Gut." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 December 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051209175959.htm>.
Carnegie Institution. (2005, December 9). Similar Stem Cells In Insect And Human Gut. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051209175959.htm
Carnegie Institution. "Similar Stem Cells In Insect And Human Gut." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/12/051209175959.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Bupa Eyes India Healthcare Opportunities

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Bupa is hoping to expand in India&apos;s fast-growing health insurance market, once a rule change on foreign investment is implemented. The British private healthcare group&apos;s CEO tells Grace Pascoe why it&apos;s so keen on the new opportunity. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Liberia Releases Last Ebola Patient, But Threat Remains

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) Liberia&apos;s last Ebola patient has been released, and the country hasn&apos;t recorded a new case in a week. However, fears of another outbreak still exist. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Doctor in Your Pocket Is Getting Smarter

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) Mobile apps are turning smartphones into a personal doctors, with users able to measure heart rate, blood pressure and even blood sugar. But will it change our behaviour? Ivor Bennett reports from the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

AbbVie Inks $21B Deal To Buy Cancer Drugmaker Pharmacyclics

Newsy (Mar. 5, 2015) AbbVie announced Wednesday it will buy cancer drugmaker Pharmacyclics in a $21 billion deal. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins