Adult tissues retain — and can recover — a memory of their early development, which might be a game-changer for cancer and regenerative medicine

A new study has found that adult cells keep a record of which genes were activated during their early development. Even more surprisingly, the memory is retrievable: Under certain lab conditions, cells can play the story of their development in reverse, switching on genes that were active before. The study, by researchers at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI), Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, was published in Molecular Cell.

 

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