Friday, September 14, 2007

Questioning the Church of Cellular Determinism: The Trials and Tribulations of a Stem-Cell Denier

Sean Morrison, author of a recent Nature paper disproving the dogma of asymmetric hematopoietic stem cell chromosomes segregation, now discusses the challenges of challenging a prevailing theory in the peer-reviewed literature:

"One reviewer moved to reject the paper because of its foundation on negative results, he recalls."

"Morrison and colleagues grew individual HSCs on plates, stopping cultures after one or two divisions and probing all the colonies to see whether there were any in which all the newly synthesized chromosomes moved together into new daughter cells. None turned up, but the reviewers pushed Morrison to look for smaller and smaller subsets."

"He says the work was held to a higher standard than usual. "Papers that present evidence in favour of an idea don't show that most stem cells do something, only that some stem cells do something."

Of course as we already know, this scientific Cinderella story has a happy ending. Morrison and his group jumped through all of the reviewers' hoops, the paper was strengthened, and published in the world's greatest scientific journal in the history of the universe. Not to mention a great blow struck on behalf of stem cell atheists everywhere.


5 comments:

Anonymous Coward said...

Are you sucking up to Nature now Bayman? you went from boycotting to ass-kissing?

Bayman said...

positive feedback for supporting the stem cell denialist movement

Mags said...

Stem cell denialist movement?

I don't get it.

A cell can still asymmetrically divide and give rise to differentiated progeny & a less differentiated reservoir of cells, satisfying the (admittedly rather loose) definition. I don't see the need to asymmetrically segregate their chromosomes on top of that. To my mind at least, the immortal strand hypothesis is not a fundamental tenet of the stem cell, er, paradigm?

Cool post, btw

Bayman said...

Ok. You're might be right there. But still, it's consistent with the non-existence of stem cells. Certainly the opposite result would have been a blow to the dissident movement.

One small step...

Anonymous said...

sounds like microenvironment advocacy to me . . .