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Q&A: Is stem cell research misguided?

Searching for a set of molecular characteristics common to all stem cells is, at best, a quixotic quest, argues a systems biologist in an opinion linkurl:piece;http://jbiol.com/content/8/8/70 recently published in the __Journal of Biology__. This overly-simplified view of stem cells, the article notes, may be leading science down unfruitful paths and holding back clinical research. Instead, the author of the review, University of California, Irvine, researcher linkurl:Arthur Lander;http://lan

Bob Grant
Bob Grant

Bob Grant is Editor in Chief of The Scientist, where he started in 2007 as a Staff Writer.

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Searching for a set of molecular characteristics common to all stem cells is, at best, a quixotic quest, argues a systems biologist in an opinion linkurl:piece;http://jbiol.com/content/8/8/70 recently published in the __Journal of Biology__. This overly-simplified view of stem cells, the article notes, may be leading science down unfruitful paths and holding back clinical research. Instead, the author of the review, University of California, Irvine, researcher linkurl:Arthur Lander;http://lander-office.bio.uci.edu/landerfacts.html advocates a change in mindset. "It is perhaps curious that, after 45 years, we have been unable to place the general notion of 'stemness' on a purely molecular footing," he writes in the article. He posits that the time has come to consider stem cells in broader physiological contexts, studying their role in complex networks of molecular and cellular interactions rather than examining the function and genetic makeup of stem cells in isolation. Lander took time to chat with __The Scientist__ about reframing...

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