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Glenn Nichols, surrounded by his hospice team. The author is in yellow.

Genetic Linkage

A Spleen Gene – And A Ribosomal Surprise

April 14, 2013

Tags: asplenia, spleen gene

(Gray's Anatomy)
The spleen is a very unappreciated body part. The Talmud considered it the “organ of laughter,” whereas the ancient Greeks equated it with melancholy. Today it’s sometimes used to mean anger.

When a spleen bursts, spewing all manner of blood cells, we take it out – as happened to Katniss Everdeen in the third installment of The Hunger Games and to Jack Ryan’s daughter in Tom Clancy’s Patriot Games. But starting life without a spleen is a whole different story. It’s deadly.

“The spleen is not the brain. No one thinks it’s very important,” says Alexandre Bolze, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Rockefeller University. His discovery of what causes a person to lack a spleen, reported April 11 in Science Express, has implications far beyond a ridiculed body part. (more…)

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