Dental Breakthrough: A Gene that Grows New Teeth
Scientific research never ceases to amaze me. There is always
something new and exciting onthe horizon, and this next piece of news is nothing short of amazing.
Researchers say they’ve pinpointed the gene that controls the production of toothenamel, raising the incredible possibility of people one day growing new teeth
Experiments in mice have previously shown that the gene, called Ctip2, is involved in theimmune system and in the development of skin and nerves. Now, this latest research fromOregon State University adds enamel production to the list.
“It's not unusual for a gene to have multiple functions, but before this we didn't know whatregulated the production of tooth enamel,” says researcher Dr. Chrissa Kioussa.
Researchers say this finding – if used in conjunction with stem cell technology – could one dayallow us to grow replacement teeth when we need them. Or, at the very least, the researchcould be used to strengthen or repair existing enamel and cut the need for fillings.
While the outlook looks promising, researchers say there is still a lot of work to be done to bringthis finding to fruition. It could be another ten years before this increases our knowledge abouthow we practice dental health.