This posting last month got lost somewhere in the network. So I am writing
In the field of cellular ageing of diploid cells in culture (the Hayflick
system), one of the most remarkable observations has been those by
Olivia Pereira-Smith and Jim Smith's groups showing by extensive
cell fusion assays that ageing was generally dominant over immortality.
By analysing more than 40 cell lines, Smiths were able to group them in
four complementation groups. These observations led to a whole series
of experimentation and hypotheses development in the field of cyto-
But now, a paper has been published by another equally competent group
of workeres challenging all data of Smiths. The paper is questions is
called: FAILURE OF INFINITE LIFE SPAN HUMAN CELLS FROM DIFFERENT IMMORTALITY
COMPLEMENTATION GROUPS TO YIELD FINITE LIFESPAN HYBRIDS, Rayan, Maher and
McCormick, in Journal of Cellular Physiology, 159: 151-160, 1994.
In this paper all the same cell lines were used to reproduce Smiths data.
The results were totally opposite. No complementation, no recessive
nature of immortality, no dominance of ageing, nothing. The interpretation
given is that Smiths data were a result of a technical fault in their
methods due to continuous drug selection.
During the last month I have tried to make enquiries about it from other
researchers, and no one really gives any satisfactory answer. The replies
range from "disaster for Olivia" to "nonsense".
Does anybody know better? There has been some talk going around in
private circles in Australia and UK that people were unable to
reproduce ageing-dominance experiments. But there have not been any
papers before this one. Incidently, there have not been any papers
on the ageing-dominance by too many people either.
For those of us working in the field of cellular ageing, these
are important results and any confusion needs to be removed.
Suresh Rattan/Aarhus/Denmark rattan at kemi.aau.dk