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Bone development

Oh deer, new bone genes

Ker, D.F.E. et al. Stem. Cell Res. Ther. 9, 292 (2018)

Deer are unique among mammals: they can rapidly regenerate lost tissues. The tissues in question are their antlers, the bony extensions that grow (and re-grow) from their skulls. What are the genetic underpinnings of such abilities? Recently, researchers at Stanford endeavored to find out.

Deer aren’t exactly common to the lab though, and there are logistical challenges to working with such large animals. So the researchers took an in vitro approach, creating a cell culture model of farrow deer antler cells that they could more easily manipulate. With their in vitro model established, they compared RNA-seq data from the deer to human mesenchymal stem cell cultures. The deer have a number of novel and uniquely expressed genes, potentially new candidates for understanding bone growth and regeneration in mammals.

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Correspondence to Ellen P. Neff.

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Neff, E.P. Oh deer, new bone genes. Lab Anim 48, 26 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41684-018-0210-9

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