In a striking demonstration of cellular flexibility, scientists have created functioning neurons from fibroblasts, without going through an intermediate pluripotent stage, according to a study published online this week in Nature.
Mouse cingulate cortex neurons
Image: Wikimedia commons
"It's really exciting," said molecular geneticist Mathias Treier of the linkurl:European Molecular Biology Laboratory; and the linkurl:University of Cologne in Germany,; who was not involved in the research. "It shows that cells can switch their fate" without going through the pluripotent state, avoiding the potential for tumor formation. "[In] the future, with the right cocktail mix, this [might be] possible for other tissues and organs," he added. Inspired by Shinya Yamanaka's discovery of four transcription factors that could induce a differentiated cell to regress to a pluripotent state, which could then be redifferentiated into another adult cell type, stem cell biologist linkurl:Marius Wernig; of Stanford University School of Medicine wondered if...
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