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Cell biology: A “spindle checkpoint” mechanism prevents cancer cells in a variety of life forms, humans to yeast

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The difference between what happens when a cell goes bad and when it turns cancerous

Which helps answer the question: If cells are so numerous, why is cancer relatively uncommon?

From “How Daughter Cells Receive the Same Number of Chromosomes” (ScienceDaily, Nov. 1, 2011), we learn that scientists better understand now how cells ensure that daughter cells receive an equal number of chromosomes. An odd number is implicated in the development of cancer:

Most cells in our bodies contain 23 pairs of chromosomes that encode our individual genetic identities. In healthy, dividing human cells, each of these chromosomes is duplicated and one copy passed to each of the two daughter cells. However, if this process is disturbed, daughter cells receive an unequal number of chromosomes, a state that is known to drive normal cells to become cancerous. In fact, aggressive human tumours are frequently composed of cells with an abnormal complement of chromosomes.

Professor Jonathan Millar explained: “This cell division process is monitored by the body’s surveillance system known as the ‘spindle checkpoint’, and that is only switched off once everything within the cell is set up correctly. Amazingly, all of the elements of this process are conserved from yeast to human cells.

“Amazingly” crops up as often in cell biology these days as “groovy” used to among hippies.

“Therefore it is extremely likely that what we have found in yeast also happens in human cells. So by preventing this process happening with drugs, you could restrict the cell’s ability to develop into full blown cancer,” explained Professor Millar.

Lessons learned from counting molecules: how to lure CENP-A into the kinetochore DOI: 10.1098/rsob.14019 Although this ultrastructure has been known for years, and significant advancements been made in understanding the molecular, biochemical and functional properties of the over 65–90 conserved kinetochore proteins (yeast [4] and mammals [5]), the molecular architecture of the kinetochore/microtubule attachment site is largely unknown. http://rsob.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/4/12/140191 Dionisio
Investigation of a Tension-Sensing Mechanism in the Spindle Checkpoint http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EHcyEPReoP8 Astonishing Molecular Machines – Drew Berry http://www.metacafe.com/w/6861283
When considering OOL issues, one focuses on bacteria, the first known form of life. But now, with this conserved status of the "spindle checkpoint apparatus" extending from yeast to humans, how does Darwinian thought explain to us how random processes arranged for this entire apparatus. Let's note that if the entire apparatus is not functioning properly, cell division cannot occur. Another day; another bad day for Darwinism. PaV

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