New Scientist Breaking News - Gene tests shed light on what triggers birth: "To identify which genes get switched on during labour, Bukowski’s team compared levels of RNA in tissue samples taken from the cervix, fundus and lower segment of the uterus from women who had gone into labour, and from those undergoing caesareans before the onset of labour. All of the women delivered their babies at full term.
Of 500 genes identified as having big changes in activity, 14 sets of genes were common to the fundus samples and another 14 sets of genes were common to the lower segment of the uterus, including genes associated with muscle contraction.
A further 12 sets were found in cervical samples, including those that modify collagen, a protein that influences tissue elasticity.
These gene sets are likely to represent key gene pathways that allow for birth, says Bukowski, although he stresses that it is unlikely that a successful labour relies on a single gene. “If delivery was dependent on one gene that would be very dangerous,” he says, since a mutation in that gene could spell disaster."
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