Reprogramming Skin Cells into Stem Cells

Arnoud van den Heuvel
July 28th 2009

skincells stemcells embryos

A major breakthrough in the world of genetics: Researchers have successfully reprogrammed skin cells into stem cells. Using a technique called iPS cell reprogramming (developed in Japan 2006) they were able to modify skin cells from mice and grow embryos:

"The mice seem to have a high death rate, with some dying after just two days, and others displaying physical abnormalities, details of which the team would not reveal. But some of their mice passed one of the most fundamental tests of health: all 12 mice that were mated produced offspring, and the offspring showed no abnormalities. The team says it now has hundreds of second-generation, and more than 100 third-generation, mice."

iPS mouse

"Unlike embryonic stem cells, iPS cells can be generated without the destruction of a human embryo and thus circumvent the ethical issues that have mired much of stem cell research. While iPS cells have been shown to be capable of developing into many different cell types, they had not been shown to be equal to embryonic stem cells -- until today." 

It was 1993 that Spielberg directed Jurassic Park in which he envisioned the possibility of reviving the dinosaur through cell-cloning. Less than twenty years later science gives the beginning of an answer. It will probably take another twenty years to even speak of reviving the dodo or mammoth, but the way things are looking now; in the Next Nature life will be programming itself.

Via: technologyreview.com | see also: nature.com | whitehead.mit.edu | image credits: Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research & Nature | Related: Green Glowing Monkeys | Forefather Ox Cloned to Revive Delicious Steak

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Should men be able to give birth to children?


Lisa Mandemaker: Using an artificial womb could lead to more equality between sexes, but also between different family layouts. If men would be able to give birth to children, it would maybe be easier for male same-sex couples to have a child together.

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