It could be revolutionary to find out what each cell out of the 37 trillion cells in the human body does.
A research team at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard accidentally found some cells which were not corresponding to anything seen before, while analysing 300 cells in mice’s trachea, The Conversation reported.
Scientists started calling them “hot cells”. After multiple experiments, they realised that they had discovered a new kind of cell in the trachea.
Another group from the US and Switzerland too found the same thing even though they were researching separately.
The new cells had never been noticed before as they make up about 1% of the cells in the windpipe.
The research teams confirmed that these cells exist in human airways as well.
When they tested the cells, they realised that the cells were not useless.
A gene spotted in these newly discovered trachea cells was the CFTR – the “cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator” gene.
Since mutations in this gene cause cystic fibrosis, it is important to scientists.
Cystic fibrosis is a complicated disease with lung infection that occurs in childhood. It has no cure.
Understanding the new cells could help understand the CFTR gene better, maybe leading to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis.