First-Ever Genome-Scale Study of Puberty Yields Insights into Development and Cancer; Study Includes First-Ever Genomic Analysis of the Testis of Adult Transfemales; May Also Offer Insights into Infertility, Cancer, and Other Diseases

In the first-ever genome-scale analysis of the puberty process in humans, researchers at the Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI) at the University of Utah outline distinct and critical changes to stem cells in males during adolescence. The scientists further outline how testosterone, and the cells that produce testosterone, impact stem cells in male reproductive organs. The researchers believe this study adds dramatically to a foundation of knowledge that may yield insights into critical areas of human health, including infertility and cellular changes that lead to cancer and other diseases. The study, published online on January 9, 2020 in Cell Stem Cell, was led by Bradley Cairns, PhD, a cancer researcher at HCI and Professor and Chair of Oncological Sciences at the University of Utah, in collaboration with colleagues Jingtao Guo, PhD, a post-doctoral fellow in the Cairns lab at HCI, James Hotaling, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery at the University of Utah, and Anne Goriely, PhD, Associate Professor of Human Genetics at the University of Oxford. The article is titled “The Dynamic Transcriptional Cell Atlas of Testis Development During Human Puberty.” Puberty spurs numerous developmental changes in humans and other mammals. Hallmarks of puberty include physical characteristics easily visible to the naked eye, like rapid growth. These physical and hormonal changes signal the process of a maturing body preparing for reproductive years. In the testis, the male reproductive organ that makes and stores sperm and produces testosterone, puberty introduces monumental changes at a cellular and physiological level.
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