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What's causing the cessation of mitotic activity in cells?


Determining cell karyology
Leonard Hayflick Scientist
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I failed to mention earlier something that I regret having overlooked and that is that one of the main issues in respect of the research that I had planned was to make sure that the cells that I obtained from these foetal sources were normal. By this time, as I think I mentioned earlier, it was known that the 46 chromosomes is the true number of chromosomes for humans. And, of course, many people in the institute knew about my work as I knew about their work. We often met and discussed activities and because I... one of the variables that had to be determined in order to prove that my cells were normal was their what's called 'cariology', which means their chromosome number, not only the number of chromosomes, but the shapes of the chromosomes, how they look. At that time, that was critical in saying that... that a cell was normal. So I asked Paul Moorhead, my good friend at the Wistar Institute, to help me in establishing that these cells were normal in respect of their cariology, their chromosomal configuration and Paul happily did that for me. And he did that study for every cell strain that I subsequently worked with and I'll return to that issue later. But Paul was a very significant personality in this story. I had frequent conversations with him. He was a very bright man. And in fact, he suggested several experiments that were very critical and I'll discuss these subsequently.

Leonard Hayflick (b. 1928), the recipient of several research prizes and awards, including the 1991 Sandoz Prize for Gerontological Research, is known for his research in cell biology, virus vaccine development, and mycoplasmology. He also has studied the ageing process for more than thirty years. Hayflick is known for discovering that human cells divide for a limited number of times in vitro (refuting the contention by Alexis Carrel that normal body cells are immortal), which is known as the Hayflick limit, as well as developing the first normal human diploid cell strains for studies on human ageing and for research use throughout the world. He also made the first oral polio vaccine produced in a continuously propogated cell strain - work which contributed to significant virus vaccine development.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is a London-based television producer and director who has made a number of documentary films for BBC TV, Channel 4 and PBS.

Tags: Paul Moorhead

Duration: 1 minute, 59 seconds

Date story recorded: July 2011

Date story went live: 08 August 2012