• Centrioles;
  • Centrosomes;
  • Morphogenesis;
  • Differentiation;
  • Apoptosis;
  • Aging;
  • Death


Irreversible differentiation (change of morphogenetic status) and programmed death (apoptosis) are observed only in somatic cells. Cell division is the only way by which the morphogenetic status of the offspring cells may be modified. It is known that there is a fixed limit to the number of possible cell divisions, the so-called ‘Hayflick limit’.

Existing links between cell division, differentiation and apoptosis make it possible to conclude that all these processes could be controlled by a single self-reproducing structure. Potential candidates for this replicable structure in a somatic cell are chromosomes, mitochondria (both contain DNA), and centrioles.

Centrioles (diplosome) are the most likely unit that can fully regulate the processes of irreversible differentiation, determination and modification of the morphogenetic status. It may contain differently encoded RNA molecules stacked in a definite order. During mitosis, these RNA molecules are released one by one into the cytoplasm. In the presence of reverse transcriptase and endonuclease, RNA can be embedded in nuclear DNA. This process presumably changes the status of repressed and potentially active genes and, subsequently, the morphogenetic status of a cell.