Science Interviews


Sun, 12th Oct 2014

Gene of the month - Unkempt

Kat Arney

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Genes, ageing and metabolism

Kat - And finally itís time for our gene of the month, and this time itís looking a bit scruffy - itís Unkempt. Discovered in September this year in the developing photoreceptor nerves in the fruit flyís eye, Unkempt - along with another newly identified gene called Headcase - help to control how the developing nerve cells become specialised into particular roles in vision. Problems with the timing of this process can lead to brain disorders such as epilepsy or autism, but until recently very little was known about the genes that control it. Unkempt and headcase are the first parts of this pathway to be discovered, but there are undoubtedly more. And itís not just flies - the researchers also found that the mammalian version of Unkept is active in the developing eye of a mouse pup in the womb, as well as in developing brain cells, suggesting it might be doing a similar job there too.



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