While scientists have known for centuries that cells divide, only during the last couple of decades have researchers really begun to make progress in investigating the how's and why's of the division. Understanding the driving mechanisms involved--the chemical triggers-- will help scientists determine why this process sometimes goes wrong (as in the case of cancer cell growth) and, someday, may also spur the development of methods to prevent and reverse such malfunctions. Jonathon Pines, a visiting research associate at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, says that investigations of the cell cycle are among "the most active and stimulating areas in research today." Pines currently is doing postdoctoral work at the Molecular Biology and Virology Laboratory, under the directorship of Tony Hunter. Hunter and his group are only one of several teams of researchers that have published numerous breakthrough papers on the cell cycle during the last...
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