Stanford University School of Medicine's Ben Barres and his colleagues identified a molecular on-switch that catalyzes the transformation of immature brain cells into myelin-producing oligodendrocytes. In a study to be published in today's Neuron, the scientists found that the microRNA molecule miR-219 is found at high levels only in oligodendrocytes and that it's necessary to induce these brain cells' precursors to mature.

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