Some blood stem cells are better than others
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IMAGE: A healthy T cell. view more 

Credit: National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

In your body, blood stem cells produce approximately 10 billion new white blood cells, which are also known as immune cells, each and every day. Even more remarkably, if some of these blood stem cells fail to do their part, then other blood stem cells pick up their slack and overproduce whichever specific type of immune cell is lacking, according to a new USC Stem Cell study published in the journal EMBO Reports.

USC PhD student Lisa Nguyen and colleagues in the laboratory of Rong Lu observed this phenomenon by tracking the individual blood stem cells that reside in the bone marrow of mice. To create the tracking labels, the scientists attached a unique piece of genetic code to each blood stem cell. During blood production, each blood stem cell passes its unique genetic label onto its progeny–which include two types of immune cells, known as B cells and T cells.

To test the contributions of these uniquely labelled blood stem cells, the scientists performed a series of bone marrow transplantations in mice. Mice received a combination of normal blood stem cells and deficient

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