undifferentiated cells


Somatic embryogenesis is the process of converting a somatic, non-reproductive cell into a meristematic embryonic state. This process is based on the fact that plant cells are totipotent, meaning that they have the ability to convert from their present tissue type to an undifferentiated form, allowing the plant cell to begin regenerating shoots, roots, leaves, and other organs. Totipency means that a plant could theoretically regenerate itself from a single cell and this amazing ability is utilized by the horticultural and agricultural industry to massively propagate different plants from small amounts of starting material. By taking a piece of the plant and exposing it to growing conditions that cause the cells to revert to the embryonic state, scientists and growers can then induce these undifferentiated cells to begin forming new plantlets. Above are GIFs of leaf cuttings induced to undergo somatic embryogenesis. After a sufficient amount of these undifferentiated cells is produced, the cuttings can be moved to different media that causes them to start forming roots, shoots, and leaves. 

Medical hierarchy Cat Edition

aka the UK or Australian medical training pathway explained!

For my non-UK and non-Australian medblrs, a consultant = attending, registrar = roughly equivalent to that senior resident (I believe) and medical officer = junior resident. Intern is..intern. 

Medical students are undifferentiated stem cells, in utero. Universally. 

I would be that poor cat on the keyboard. 
The medical officer. Let’s see, how many summaries and lab results did I chase today? 

I saw this reblogged years ago, I can’t remember the source anymore, only that i saved the image at the time.

so i was reading up on how washington university is doing research with zika virus being potentially used to cure glioblastoma (a form of brain cancer). to those who don’t know, zika virus harms unborn fetuses by targeting the neural progenitor cells in the brain– these are undifferentiated neurons, meaning at the time they haven’t been given a specific ‘purpose’ and haven’t differentiated into specific neurons and oligodendrocytes. u probably know of them as stem cells 

so zika targets these neural progenitor cells and kills them before they can multiply and differentiate, which causes microencephaly, in which babies are born with abnormally small heads. specifically, iirc, zika diverts a type of TBK1 protein that organizes cell division with the mitochondria, and without the TBK1 to provide this organization, cells just die instead of dividing

undifferentiated cancer cells multiply and spread much more quickly than differentiated ones, so washington university’s research is essentially using zika to stop the multiplication of cancer cells- which in this case are just like the neural progenitor cells in a growing fetus!

currently they’re discussing using this potential treatment alongside more common cancer treatments- AKA chemo/radiation being used to destroy the bulk of the tumor, and then zika going in to eliminate the rest of the undifferentiated cells left over. bc that’s a BIG issue with cancer, even if you get the tumor, if you leave cells behind, they can easily multiply again and become a recurring issue

and while injecting a virus that causes brain damage into a human brain sounds terrifying, it actually isn’t! because the adult brain has very few neural progenitor cells. up until recently it was believed neurogenesis (formation of new neurons) doesn’t even occur in the human brain, and now we have evidence that it DOES, but only in specific areas, and not to a great extent 

so anyway as someone really into neuroscience this is fucking FASCINATING. zika is a terrible disease but being able to use it to do something so good is. really fuckin incredible tbh 

and so i was checking this out on facebook and there are baby boomers talking about how zika is fake and created by the government for… some reason? i literally can’t get my head around it. i can understand neuroscience but my god i can’t understand these people


Ground Layering is a form of plant propagation in which clones of the parent plant are made as lower branches come into contact with the soil.

This can be done manually (as I have done above with a Rhododendron), or, it can happen naturally, when a plant produces adventitious roots.

The process can be accelerated by scoring the bark of the stem section that is to be buried to reveal the cambium–which provides undifferentiated cells that turn into root tissue–and applying rooting hormone.

When this is done above the ground, it is called air layering.

Layering is a reliable way to create clones of plants that are difficult to propagate by cuttings, like certain hardwoods, or flowering trees like magnolias. The clone is able to derive water and nutrients from the parent plant, while slowly establishing roots over a period of weeks or months.

#DIY #garden hacks #cloning #resources
Are Kagune Sentient?

Kagune are one of the many mysteries in the world of Tokyo Ghoul, there’s an excellent post already  by @coromoor that details the workings of the building blocks of Kagune, rc cells. Reding that, and another post  by @sans-san and @oneeyedkingeto , I pieced together what could be another solution behind the mystery of Kagune. How exactly do Kagune act sentiently, or on their own parted from the body?

Keep reading

A Word with Fourth Year

For the students who have survived their foray into clerkship, congratulations for making it this far. You are only a year away from finishing your medical schooling. Here are some words of wisdom as you draw closer to the end as an undifferentiated stem cell and down the new path as a resident.

  1. Stay healthy. Surely by now you will have managed to find a daily routine that allows you to work hard but also enjoy time away from medicine. However, third year is also a time when one can pick up bad habits. Plan ahead, and take this opportunity before residency begins to really iron out the sore spots in your life.
  2. Explore your interests. Fourth year is really about finding your career interest and honing in on that goal. This is where you can start to expand on your career choice and take electives that give you inspiration, skills, or both. 
  3. Prepare early. Residency applications are meaty things and the deadlines come sooner than you think. Research the programs early, write cover letters early, and think about planning your electives early and in line with the residency matching schedule. 
  4. Have a backer. In third year, I mentioned that making a good impression was important. That trend continues on in the fourth year electives as well. The good will and social capital you accumulate with your attendings are what will fuel good reference letters. For a competitive program, these letters, particularly if they are from respected members of the faculty, can make or break an application.
  5. Study and keep studying. Elective choices can change the entire atmosphere of fourth year. While flexibility is welcome, it is never a license to take the easy road. Still take some time to read and study. At the end of it all, regardless of what program you match to, the licensing exam tests you on all facets of medicine.
  6. Big brother, big sister. When you began third year, you were the fresh face on the ward. There was some stuff you knew back then but a tonne more you had no idea about. Remember how stressful and terrifying it was once.
    Now that you are a fourth year, do not forget how that felt. When you meet a third year student on your team, help them along, guide them, impart your experience to them. Remember the kindness of your senior students and residents and pay it forward.
  7. Have fun. Medical school goes by very quickly. As a student, there is a flexibility and freedom that you will simply never come across again. Enjoy your rotations with your peers. Make the most of your electives. Take the residency interview tour as a nation-trotting adventure. Never forget to have fun on this job.

Related posts: A Word with First Year. A Word with Second Year. A Word with Third Year. A Word with Residents.

#423: Gastrodon

It has a pliable body without any bones. If any part of its body is torn off, it grows right back.

Hey! Let’s talk about regeneration! I’m not talking about the flashy, instantaneous, time-lordy regeneration that you’ll see in Doctor Who. I’m talking about a very slow and super interesting type of regeneration, such as the type we see in Salamanders. 

In cases of distress, salamanders have been known to drop their tails as a distraction to get away from their attacker. But the cool part is, that their tails can grow back! 

Within hours of the loss, epidermal (skin) cells from the area congregate where the tail has separated forming a thick cap that can act as a barrier from the outside world.

Salamander’s tissues contain something called fibroblasts. These cells are undifferentiated, sort of like stem cells in humans, and can be directed to transform into whatever type of cell that is needed. In a situation like this, they will congregate into a mass, called a blastema, that will eventually become the new body part. 

We don’t actually know how the blastema knows which body part to regenerate as (Salamanders are able to regenerate almost any limb or organ), but scientists believe that there is a genetic sequence in their DNA that remembers how all of the different body parts are to be assembled, and the blastema’s just follow instructions in the genetic code. This process can take up to a few weeks to regrow the entire limb, but it’s still very impressive.

Since the pokedex claims that Gastrodon is able to grow it’s body parts right back we have to assume that their cell cycle works at extremely fast speeds, that we aren’t able to see naturally occurring in our animal kingdom.

Gastrodon uses undifferentiated cells, multiplying at an exponential rate, to regrow any lost body parts at fast speeds.

As the biology nerd that I am, I think this is pretty freaking neat. You should too. It is neat. Appreciate the cool things that nature does!