UMD researcher discovers mechanisms and epigenetic markers with implications for diseases ranging from cancers to infertility
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A UMD researcher has uncovered new mechanisms that dictate the development of germline stem cells or germ cells, the only cell type capable of passing genetic information on to the next generation. Stem cell research is on the foreground of new knowledge for fighting disease, and mechanisms in this study were found to be associated with genes responsible for cancers and viral infections among other major health issues. Markers used to identify male germ cells were also discovered, exploring how environmental factors or epigenetics affect these cells and providing significant insight into treatments for male infertility. These findings not only unlock future animal and human health research in these areas, but also set the stage for chickens as a more prominent model organism for stem cell research.

Stem cell research has applications for treating cancer, heart disease, neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and even injuries. These cells can replicate and replace damaged tissue, so understanding their development is important to the future of this work. Epigenetic factors, or environmental factors that affect the way genes are expressed, can also play a large role in cell and tissue development, and no studies

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