Developmental Biology

The making of a distal gut

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Science  11 Aug 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6351, pp. 561
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6351.561-a

Improving neural stem cell motility

CREDIT: J. O. MÚNERA ET AL. CELL STEM CELL 21 (2017) © CELL PRESS

Organoid research is revolutionizing investigations into development and disease. Gut organoids have proved valuable in elucidating signaling pathways and structures. So far, most advances have focused on the small intestine. The distal gut has seen less progress because of the challenges of deriving organoids from cecum, colon, and rectum stem cells. Múnera et al. show that it is essential to have specific growth factors called BMP-HOX present to generate human colonic organoids. When transplanted, these organoids grow into tissues in mice that resemble the human colon. Insights into colitis, colon cancer, and irritable bowel syndrome should now be enabled through the use of these models of the distal human gut.

Cell Stem Cell 21, 51 (2017).

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