New technique reconstructs life of cells

British researchers have developed a new way of tracing the life history of individual cells back to their origins in the fertilised egg.

By studying the DNA mutations in mice cells, researchers could assess how many times the cell had divided and detect the processes of DNA damage and repair that the cells had been exposed to during the life of the individual.

This technique enabled scientists to map out a detailed tree of the cell’s development from the fertilised egg.

First author Dr Sam Behjati said this novel approach could help scientists “gain a fundamental insight into what can be considered normal and how this differs from what we see in cancer cells”.

Read more at Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute