DATABASE: Heads or Tails

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Science  12 Mar 2004:
Vol. 303, Issue 5664, pp. 1589d
DOI: 10.1126/science.303.5664.1589d

The Wnt genes get a developing embryo into shape, helping orchestrate everything from the differentiation of the head and tail ends to the formation of kidney tubules. Faulty Wnt genes can also spur cancer. Keep tabs on the growing gene family at this site from developmental biologist Roel Nusse of Stanford University.

Tables list all the Wnt genes discovered in model organisms such as Drosophila and in humans—we carry 19. Click on links to gather a gene's DNA and protein sequences or to learn about the proteins it interacts with, which go by names such as Frizzled and Dishevelled. Lab protocols describe techniques such as how to fish out active Wnt proteins, a feat that Nusse and colleagues first achieved last summer. At right, stimulating a frog embryo to make a Wnt protein in the wrong place prompts it to sprout a second head.

www.stanford.edu/∼rnusse/wntwindow.html

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