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Scientists at the University of Florida in Gainesville have isolated 2 genes from a bacterium called Oxalobacter rmigenes that may pave the way for removing kidney stones through gene therapy.
The genes in question direct the production of enzymes that break down
oxalic acid. Left alone, oxalic acid binds with calcium to form crystals that solidify into painful stones. Ammon B Peck introduced the genes into embryonic rat tissue and will soon graft the tissue into kidneys of adult rats. The rats will be fed a high-oxalate diet to see if the genetically engineered tissue can prevent the formation of kidney stones.