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Playing it safe
Date:7/7/2009

form sperm.

What nobody had guessed until now, however, was that a simple trick is enough to incite these cells to reprogramme. If the cells are distributed on new petri dishes, some of them revert to an embryonic state once they are given sufficient space and time. "Each time we filled around 8000 cells into the individual wells of the cell culture plates, some of the cells reprogrammed themselves after two weeks," reports Ko. And when the switch in these germline-derived pluripotent stem cells (gPS) has been reversed, they start to reproduce rapidly.

The researchers have proven that the "reignition" of the cells has actually taken place with the aid of numerous tests. Not only can the reprogrammed cells be used to generate heart, nerve or endothelial cells, as is the case with embryonic stem cells, the scientists can also use them to produce mice with mixed genotypes, known as chimeras, from the new gPs, and thus demonstrate that cells obtained from the testis can pass their genes on to the next generation.

Whether this process can also be applied to humans remains an open question. There is much to suggest, however, that gPS cells exceed all previously artificially reprogrammed cells in terms of the simplicity of their production and their safety.


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Contact: Dr. Jeanine Mller-Keuker
presse@mpi-muenster.mpg.de
49-251-703-65325
Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

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