Tag Archives: USC

Justin, Alligators, Teeth, and Stem Cells

Let’s get one thing clear.  Scientists will go to low levels to try to grab your attention and make you interested in their research.  I have been to talks where the researcher threw up a pic of actors from Baywatch to make an analogy to methylating protein complexes.  So…naturally this post has absolutely nothing to do with JT… but now that I have your attention, I wanted to share with you recent developments regarding teeth science! As diphyodont species, we can only generate two sets of teeth in our lifetime, and after that we are SOL (SIMPLY Out of Luck).  But other species such as the American alligator can undergo life-long teeth regeneration.  Dr. Chuong and his team at the University of Southern Californiaset out to study the American alligator based on the similarity of teeth layout in the organism compared to humans and to learn more about the nature of stem cells that contribute to teeth regeneration.  The presence of a layer of epithelial tissues known as the dental lamina seems to serve as the home to dental stem cells for the alligator, whose each 80 teeth “can be replaced up to 50 times over their lifetime.”  It is interesting that humans also have the dental lamina layer of cells.  All in all, the group would like to use this alligator model and to isolate cells from the dental lamina to create to see whether they can regenerate teeth in the laboratory.  While you should still brush your teeth twice a day, I think the research creates hope for those suffering form dental diseases to have their own teeth that might look just like Justin’s when restored at the dentist.  Definitely a Fancy thought.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130514101457.htm

Here’s the link for the full article that published the research in PNAS:

http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2013/05/08/1213202110

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