Scientists have identified a regulator (fruit fly) gene, named “scrawny”  which probably plays a key role in keeping different types of stem cells workable and undifferentiated.
(so named because of the appearance of mutant adult flies)

All over the world stem cell researchers were eagerly looking for the answer, as how stem cell could able to retain the youthful ability to differentiate, that is to develop into more specialized types of cells over many cycles of cell division.

The results will be published in the January 9, 2009 print edition of Science.

According to the lead researcher Allan C. Spradling, director of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Embryology, Our tissues and our  lives depend on the continuous functioning of stem cells. But we know little about the genes and molecular pathways that keep stem cells from turning into regular tissue cells—a process known as differentiation.

In the study, Scientists at the Carnegie Institution, determined that the fruit fly gene scrawny  modifies a specific chromosomal protein, histone H2B, used by cells to package DNA into chromosomes. By controlling the proteins that wrap the genes, scrawny can silence genes that would otherwise cause a generalized cell to differentiate into a specific type of cell, such as a skin or intestinal cell.

This new finding will enable scientists to expand stem cell populations in culture and would help to control killer diseases by regulating stem cell differentiation.

Source; Science Daily