Random Darwinian processes originate a variety of different programs for getting rid of cells no longer needed. From ScienceDaily:
Some cells are meant to live, and some are meant to die. The linker cell of Caenorhabditis elegans, a tiny worm that is a favored model organism for biologists, is among those destined for termination. This cell helps determine the shape of the gonad in male worms–and then it dies, after two days, just as the worms are transitioning from larvae into adults. This programmed cell death is a normal part of the animal’s development, yet the genetic and molecular mechanisms underpinning it have not been worked out.
Scientists in Rockefeller University’s Laboratory of Developmental Genetics, headed by Shai Shaham, had previously shown that the linker cell does not expire by apoptosis, a more commonly studied form of programmed cell death. “Everything about this death process is different from apoptosis,” he says. “It looks different under the microscope, it requires different genes, and it has different kinetics.”More. Paper. (public access)
From the toolkit of randomness originating in the collisions of matter, a new bioengineering feat!
Note: Life forms strive to live, not die, so is there an additional layer of complexity in forcing death on some cells?
See also: Brain guardians remove dying neurons
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