Conditions such as Down syndrome are the result of a chromosome mutation that produces individuals with an extra chromosome. Individuals with Down syndrome, also known as trisomy 21, have an extra chromosome on autosomal chromosome 21. Researchers from the University of Washington have discovered a way to remove the extra chromosome copy from these cells in culture. They used an adeno-associated virus to introduce a foreign gene into a section of the extra chromosome. They then allowed the cultured cells to grow under conditions that were not favorable for the foreign gene. Under these pressures, the cells removed the chromosome with the foreign gene.
According to researcher Dr. David W. Russell, "We are certainly not proposing that the method we describe would lead to a treatment for Down syndrome. What we are looking at is the possibility that medical scientists could create cell therapies for some of the blood-forming disorders that accompany Down syndrome." The method described in the study could also be used to create stem cell lines without trisomy 21 from individuals with the condition.
Learn more about this study, see:
- Extra Chromosome 21 Removed from Down Syndrome Cell Line (Science Daily)