What Makes The Same Type Of Cells Different?

A research team led by Lucas Pelkmans at ETH Zürich has managed to decipher a well-known phenomenon that had, until now, remained unexplained: why cells of the same type can react differently, and what the reason for this is.


After three years of intensive development and research work, researchers have developed a computer-supported process, which allows them to observe the processes behind the variability of individual cells in cell cultures with millions of cells for the first time, and uncover the secret behind these processes. Until now, cell variability was simply called “noise”, implying statistical random distribution. However, the results of the study now show that the different reactions are not random, but that certain causes lead to predictable distribution patterns.


As the study shows, many changes do not directly influence the cell, but the population as a whole, which then leads to changes in behaviour of individual cells.


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