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Immortal Flesh -- “spontaneous immortality”

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#1 jans

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 04:36 PM

Can someone explain this phenomenon now, 6-7 years later?

It’s all a bit mind-numbing, Lynn Allen-Hoffman says, since she is convinced she did nothing to cause the cells to become immortal. What she did, however, was exactly the right thing.... chromosome 8 had a duplicate string of DNA. “The cells just have a double dose, so to speak, of the genes that are on that section of chromosome 8,” Allen-Hoffman says. That appears to be the only difference in the cells, and the reason for their “immortality.” It apparently happened, she adds, while the cells were in the petri dish, but at this point no one knows why the mutation occurred, or why it should have affected the life span.

A petri dish holding colonies of skin cells that, inexplicably, won't die. Pathologist Lynn Allen-Hoffman discovered the cells during a routine experiment. (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

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