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How to ID human pluripotency

Stem cell researchers must take more care in identifying true pluripotency in reprogrammed human cells, according to a study published online today (October 11) in Nature Biotechnology. The paper outlines strict molecular criteria for recognizing pluripotency, and warns that relying on just a single marker will muddle the field. Human embryonic stem cellsImage: Wikimedia commons, Nissim Benvenisty"All too often people in the human [stem cell] field use the most minimal criteria to call cells

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef Akst is managing editor of The Scientist, where she started as an intern in 2009 after receiving a master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses.

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Stem cell researchers must take more care in identifying true pluripotency in reprogrammed human cells, according to a study published online today (October 11) in Nature Biotechnology. The paper outlines strict molecular criteria for recognizing pluripotency, and warns that relying on just a single marker will muddle the field.
Human embryonic stem cells
Image: Wikimedia commons,
Nissim Benvenisty
"All too often people in the human [stem cell] field use the most minimal criteria to call cells pluripotent," said linkurl:George Daley,;http://daley.med.harvard.edu/ a stem cell biologist at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Children's Hospital Boston who coauthored the study. "[The] colonies, on the surface, look like they're reprogrammed, but by stringent criteria are not." Scientists are getting better at reprogramming human cells into stem cells with embryonic-like properties -- known as induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells -- but identifying those cells that have successfully reached true pluripotency may not be...
Fbx15Oct4NanogNANOGOCT4The Scientist



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