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UMass researchers block Down syndrome chromosome

BOSTON — Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Medical School have found a way to shut down the extra chromosome that causes the developmental problems and intellectual disabilities in people with Down syndrome.

The result was accomplished only with human cells grown in laboratory dishes. The UMass team found a way to suppress the expression of that extra chromosome, raising the possibility that eventually, a similar shutdown could be engineered in people.

The discovery was published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

Dr. Brian Skotko, co-director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital, who was not involved in the new study tells The Boston Globe the development wasn’t “within the current realm of scientific dreaming.”

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