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Are All Stem Cells The Same?

Proteins in induced pluripotent stem cells and human embryonic stem cells are 99 percent similar.

Tia Ghose

Human embryonic stem cellsWIKIMEDIA COMMONS, NISSIM BENVENISTY

In contrast to previous work touting the differences between induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), a study published  Sunday (September 11) in Nature Methods suggests they are actually quite similar: the proteins contained in each type of cell were 99 percent alike.

The study compared four different lines for each type of stem cell. In addition to measuring the levels of each protein, the researchers also evaluated protein activity level by measuring how much RNA was produced and looking at degree of protein phosophorylation, all of which were similar between iPSCs and hESCs.

There were still subtle differences between the two cell types in protein expression and phosphorylation, but the findings could pave the way for greater use of iPSCs, which do not have to be harvested from embryos, a controversial practice. In addition, iPSCs can...

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from its original version to clarify that autologous stem cell transplants reduce the chance of immune rejection, but may not eliminate it all together.

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