Image of the Month: Preventing Chaos

Published in Fundamentals - Fundamentals August 2022

In most humans, each cell carries 23 chromosomes, which need to be duplicated, divvied up and sorted into new cells each time a cell divides. Among other jobs, tiny machines within the cell, called centrioles allow this to happen trillions of times across our bodies with virtually no mistakes.

Cell biologists Thao Phan and Andrew Holland research the tiny centrioles to learn more about how they are created, counted and conduct their important work. Their recent research uncovered that small changes in the DNA can impact a protein essential for centrioles to attach chromosomes through connections called tubules (shown in green) during cell replication. The changes, the researchers found, were particularly impactful on the creation of sperm and eggs in mice, posing serious health risks for future generations and providing a clue to the evolutionary history of centrioles in mammals.

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