Electromagnetism Promotes Pluripotency: Study

A paper published last month claims that electromagnetic exposure facilitates cell reprogramming, but some scientists question the evidence.

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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Oct 23, 2014

WIKIMEDIA, Y TAMBEScientists published data last month (September 23) in ACS Nano that showed exposing mouse fibroblasts to low frequency electromagnetic fields improved the efficiency of reprogramming them to a pluripotent state by enhancing histone methylation. Improving the efficiency of induced pluripotency would certainly be welcome in the field, but much of the discussion—at least in online fora—has skewed toward skepticism.

“[What] I have trouble with is the mechanism by which an enzyme gets induced by low-frequency electromagnetic fields, and that's always been the basic argument against such things,” Derek Lowe wrote at his blog, In the Pipeline, this month (October 14). “I don’t know what to make of this paper, does anyone?” he asked.

The PubPeer community appears to have responded to Lowe. At the online post-publication peer review site, commenters have expressed their doubts and picked apart potential problems with figures appearing in the paper. Jongpil...

(Hat tip: Retraction Watch)

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Electromagnetism Promotes Pluripotency: Study

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