Scientists have identified a key component of cellular reprogramming that may aid in more efficiently creating induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, according to a study published online in Nature today (December 21).
Mouse embryonic stem cells
Image: Wikimedia commons
"This [research] is pretty astonishing," molecular biologist Xiangru Xu of linkurl:Yale University; wrote in an email to The Scientist. "This study provides a specific epigenetic mechanism [for] the pluripotent cell production from differentiated human cells. I think this will ultimately help scientists to understand better and facilitating the yield of iPS cell production." By fusing mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells with human fibroblasts to create cells known as heterokaryons, stem cell biologist linkurl:Helen Blau; of the Baxter laboratory for Stem Cell Biology at Stanford University and her colleagues have developed a way to study the reprogramming process. Presumably because the researchers are "overwhelming" the fibroblast with ES cell factors, Blau...

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