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Image of the week: Retinal pigment epithelium precursor cells

This eye-catching image from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Flickr photostream looks like a piece of abstract art but is actually a depiction of human embryonic stem cells differentiating into precursors cells of the retina. According to the CIRM photo caption:

Nuclei are in blue. Pink indicates the presence of Pax6, a protein found in retinal tissue. The retinal pigment epithelium is the tissue responsible for macular degeneration, the most common cause of blindness.

The image was taken by David Buchholz, PhD, in the lab of Dennis Clegg, PhD, at UC Santa Barbara where researchers are working to determine if stem cells be applied in novel therapies to treat retinal diseases including age-related macular degeneration.

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