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Human Cell Atlas Could Help Scientists Understand and Treat Diseases

Image: Human Cell Atlas Could Help Scientists Understand and Treat Diseases

Scientists are creating a human cell atlas that will map every cell in the body and could help in the study and treatment of diseases. (Steve Allen/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Thursday, 20 Oct 2016 05:56 AM

A group of international scientists meeting in London on Friday plan to create a human cell atlas that would describe and map out every cell in the human body.

A few years ago, a project to map every human cell would have been considered impossible, but scientists now believe it is possible after advances such as the Human Geome Project and microscopes that can show individual cells in more detail.

An atlas of human cells could help in the treatment of various health conditions affecting cells and the human body.

“In sickness and in health, cells are the fundamental units of life, and only by knowing our cells will we be able to fully comprehend the mechanisms of human disease,” said Karolinska Institute professor of molecular systems biology Sten Linnarsson, who is participating in the initiative, according to the Sanger Institute.

There are trillions of cells in the human body, but detailed knowledge about all the different kinds of cells has not been widely available to scientists. The atlas plans to include information not widely known previously like messenger RNA that gives cells a unique identity, according to Seeker.

The atlas will identify each type of cell and show where it is located in the body. It also will aim to show how cells change and transform when exposed to a pathogen or when a stem cell becomes a specific type of cell.

The atlas will be freely available once it is completed so that scientists around the world can use it in their studies and research.

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A group of international scientists meeting in London on Friday plan to create a human cell atlas that would describe and map out every cell in the human body.
human, cell, atlas
259
2016-56-20
Thursday, 20 Oct 2016 05:56 AM
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