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Robert Kelsh
photo by Nic Delves-Broughton, University Photographer

Internal News - 20 March 2007

Research paper commended by Faculty of 1000

A research paper written by a scientist in the Department of Biology & Biochemistry has been highlighted as one of the most interesting current papers in biology, based on the recommendations of over 1,000 leading scientists.

The paper highlighted by the Faculty of 1000 describes research into a gene which plays an important role in the development of several rare congenital diseases, including Hirschsprung disease and Waardenburg-Shah syndrome.

The team discovered that in mutant zebrafish which do not have the sox10 gene, the development of sensory neurones is halted in its tracks; suggesting a key role for the gene in aiding the differentiation of the stem cells into these key components of the nervous system.

“Understanding the genetics of development is important for improving our understanding of how diseases which affect humans develop,” said Dr Robert Kelsh, from the Department of Biology & Biochemistry, who led the team that published the paper.

“What we learn from models like zebrafish and mice can ultimately have huge benefits in our understanding of human diseases and disorders.

“We know that sox10 is implicated in human congenital diseases, but now we have a growing understanding of how it works, which could aid our chances of being able to treat these diseases in the future.”

Faculty of 1000 is an online research service that comprehensively and systematically highlights and reviews the most interesting research papers, based on the recommendations of a faculty of well over 1000 selected leading researchers.

The paper was published in the journal Development in 2006, and involved researchers from the University of Bath and Université Paul Sabatier in France.