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Genetic blueprint revealed for kidney design and formation
Date:11/10/2008

CINCINNATI Researchers have generated the first comprehensive genetic blueprint of a forming mammalian organ, shedding light on the genetic and molecular dynamics of kidney development.

Part of an international consortium sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a research team led by Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center reports the creation of a detailed genome-based atlas for understanding healthy and abnormal kidney development and disease. Published in the Nov. 11 Developmental Cell and featured on the journal's cover, the research provides a molecular genetic map detailing "gene expression analysis of all the major elements of kidney formation," according to the investigators.

The study, involving embryonic mice, shows how the entire genome is regulated to produce thousands of specific genes that are mixed and re-mixed to form genetic teams. The teams work together to direct formation of 15 embryonic compartments in the developing kidney from the earliest phases when stem cells are told how to differentiate into specific kidney cells to the development of nephrons, the kidney's primary functioning unit.

"This study establishes a baseline for what changing gene expression looks like in a normal developing kidney in a very global way," said Steven Potter, Ph.D., a researcher in the division of Developmental Biology at Cincinnati Children's and the study's senior author. "Now we have molecular insights that will allow us to understand specific interactions throughout all stages of kidney development."

Dr. Potter explained this will let researchers analyze kidney abnormalities in mutant mice "in a much more complete and profound way than ever before. Given the mouse's genetic similarities with people, this should help us understand the underpinnings of human disease," he said.

The researchers conducted their multi-step analysis of mouse embryon
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Contact: Nick Miller
nicholas.miller@cchmc.org
513-803-6035
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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