Lethal maternal cells

Cells from the mother that remain in the body of the child since its foetal stage can trigger auto-immune diseases, in which the body attacks its own tissues. J Nelson and her colleagues at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA, have found maternal cells in a 47-year-old man with scleroderma, which causes the skin to become leathery and can damage internal organs. ( New Scientist , Vol 162, No 2183).