Science Interviews


Thu, 9th Aug 2012

Tooth stem cells

Safia Danovi

Listen Now    Download as mp3 from the show Genes and genomes

Kat:: Now, the other story that I noticed this month was from Emma Juuri and her team at the Institute of Biotechnology in Helsinki and they published this in Developmental Cell. They’ve been studying teeth, particularly in mice, and they found a particular transcription factor called Sox2 is expressed in stem cells in the front teeth of mice. And this is quite interesting because the front teeth of mice actually grow throughout their life. But in humans obviously, our teeth stop growing so the hunt is on to find what’s driving the stem cells to make teeth in mice and maybe we could use this to regrow teeth in humans. What do you reckon about this story?

Dr. Danovi:: I think this is fantastic news. I'm speaking as someone who has absolutely awful teeth and would be very, very pleased to have the ability to grow more teeth from scratch.

But on a serious note, I think it would be really interesting to know if Sox2 is doing exactly the same thing in humans and we know that the Sox family are a very bossy family of genes. They like telling cells exactly what to do and most famous example being Sox9 which tells the developing embryo to become a boy. You know, I wait with interest on this story and I think it’s going to become commercially quite important.



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