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The team used an RNA gene called XIST

Researchers have found a way to mute an extra chromosome known for causing trisomy 21, or Down syndrome. 

Scientists at UMass Medical School -- led by Jeanne B. Lawrence, PhD, professor of cell & developmental biology -- have used an RNA gene to hush the chromosome responsible for Down syndrome, which could open new possibilities for studying the condition. 

People with Down syndrome have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of two, causing trisomy 21. This leads to cognitive disability and early-onset Alzheimer's disease. It can also cause other complications, such as heart defects. 

The team used an RNA gene called XIST -- which typically silences one of the X chromosomes found in females -- as inspiration for the study. The large XIST RNA is created during early development from one of the two X chromosomes in the female, and has the ability to prevent the X chromosome's DNA from being expressed to produce proteins. This makes the genes on the chromosome silent. 

Using this idea, the team collected induced pluripotent stem cells from fibroblast cells donated by a Down syndrome patient. The researchers then used zinc finger nuclease (ZFN) technology to place the XIST gene in the extra chromosome 21.

The results showed that the XIST RNA successfully muted genes across the extra chromosome and stopped it from working. Gene expression levels returned to a more normal state from there. 

It also showed that XIST is capable of reversing the problems with cell proliferation and neural cell differentiation found in Down syndrome cells.

“In the short term the correction of Down syndrome cells in culture accelerates the study of cell pathology and translational research into therapeutics, but also for the longer-term, potential development of ‘chromosome therapies,’ which utilize epigenetic strategies to regulate chromosomes, is now at least conceivable," said Lawrence.
"Since therapeutic strategies for common chromosomal abnormalities like Down syndrome have received too little attention for too long, for the sake of millions of patients and their families across the U.S. and the world, we ought to try."

Source: Science Blog

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RE: Tasteless
By othercents on 7/18/2013 1:42:53 PM , Rating: 5
The person you knew might have had a Down Syndrome child that had an extreme cognitive delay while most only have mild to moderate cognitive delay and can be fully functioning part of society. Each person's response to having a Down Syndrome child is different and the decision to abort should be based on the individual family.

However note that 95% of families that find out they will have a Down Syndrome choose to abort which is driving down the number of Down Syndrome adults in the country. A cure for a positive test during pregnancy would be preferred to abortion.


RE: Tasteless
By annabelle101 on 7/18/13, Rating: -1
RE: Tasteless
By marvdmartian on 7/18/2013 2:17:05 PM , Rating: 4
Is it too late to abort THIS fool? They're spamming a whole bunch of posts on DT!

RE: Tasteless
By middlehead on 7/18/2013 1:54:45 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming the cure can be administered in time. I don't know all the development timelines off-hand, but I'd be willing to bet that significant developmental damage is already done by the time the in-utero testing procedures become safe. Amniocentesis is usually not done until around 16 weeks.

RE: Tasteless
By Cheesew1z69 on 7/19/2013 1:45:59 PM , Rating: 2
However note that 95% of families that find out they will have a Down Syndrome choose to abort which is driving down the number of Down Syndrome adults in the country.
Reference? I don't believe that for 1 minute.

RE: Tasteless
By arazok on 7/19/2013 1:57:40 PM , Rating: 2
Wikipedia. I posted a link below in another reply.

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