Navigation Links
U-M Study Reveals Surprising Lack of Genetic Diversity in the Most Widely Used Human Embryonic Stem Cell Lines
Date:12/16/2009

ANN ARBOR, Mich., Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ --The most widely used human embryonic stem cell lines lack genetic diversity, a finding that raises social justice questions that must be addressed to ensure that all sectors of society benefit from stem cell advances, according to a University of Michigan research team.

In the first published study of its kind, the U-M team analyzed 47 embryonic stem cell lines, including most of the lines commonly used by stem cell researchers. The scientists determined the genetic ancestry of each line and found that most were derived from donors of northern and western European ancestry.

Several of the lines are of Middle Eastern or southern European ancestry. Two of the lines are of East Asian origin. None of the lines were derived from individuals of recent African ancestry, from Pacific Islanders, or from populations indigenous to the Americas.

In addition, U-M researchers identified several instances in which more than one cell line came from the same embryo donors, further reducing the overall genetic diversity of the most widely available lines.

"Embryonic stem cell research has the potential to change the future of medicine," said Sean Morrison, director of the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology and one of the study leaders. "But there's a lack of diversity among today's most commonly used human embryonic stem cell lines, which highlights an important social justice issue."

"We expected Europeans to be overrepresented, but we were surprised by how little diversity there is," he said.

For the study, Morrison teamed up with two colleagues at the U-M Life Sciences Institute: stem cell scientist Jack Mosher and population geneticist Noah Rosenberg. Their findings are scheduled to be published online Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A fundamental principle of medical research is that new therapies are tested on patients that mirror the diversity in society, because certain groups may respond to medications and treatments differently. By evaluating new therapies in diverse patients, researchers are more likely to detect the different effects these therapies might have.

Embryonic stem cell lines are being used to develop new cellular therapies for spinal cord injuries and various diseases, to screen for new drugs and to better understand inherited diseases. It's crucial that diverse lines are available for this research to ensure that all patients benefit from the results, Morrison said.

"If that's not done, we run the risk of leaving certain groups in our society behind," said Morrison, who is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator at U-M.

The U-M report comes as Michigan researchers launch new projects made possible by a recent state constitutional amendment allowing researchers in the state to derive new human embryonic stem cell lines using approaches already used in the rest of the country.

The Michigan initiatives are getting underway as stem cell scientists across the nation respond to sweeping policy changes issued by the Obama administration. On Dec. 2, the U.S. National Institutes of Health announced it had approved 13 new human embryonic stem cell lines for use by federally funded researchers.

Since that announcement, 40 lines have been approved for federal funding, including 22 lines that were part of the U-M genotyping study. Estimates of the total number of human embryonic stem cell lines in the world range up to 700.

"While there are likely other lines out there that come from populations not represented in our study, those are not the lines that are most widely distributed and employed in stem cell research," said Rosenberg, a research associate professor at LSI.

In Michigan, U-M researchers announced on Dec. 8 that they received approval from the Medical School's Institutional Review Board and the university's Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research Oversight Committee to begin accepting donated embryos that will be used to derive the university's first human embryonic stem cell lines. It is the first U-M project made possible by Proposal 2, the state constitutional amendment approved by Michigan voters in November 2008, easing restrictions on human embryonic stem cell research in the state.

The derivation project will be conducted by the university's new Consortium for Stem Cell Therapies, which includes researchers from across campus, as well as collaborators at Michigan State University and Wayne State University. Project scientists expect to begin accepting the first donated embryos early next year and to achieve their first embryonic stem cell line by mid-2010. The work must abide by the restrictions imposed by the Michigan Constitution and federal regulations.

A top priority for the consortium is to derive lines that carry the genes responsible for inherited diseases. Morrison, a member of the consortium's scientific advisory board, said the University of Michigan "will also make it a priority to derive new embryonic stem cell lines from underrepresented groups, including African-Americans."

But progress could be undermined by a package of bills now before the Michigan Legislature, Morrison said. The bills seek to impose new restrictions on embryonic stem cell research that could block much of the research approved by voters under Proposal 2, he said.

In the U-M study, Mosher extracted DNA from embryonic stem cells and identified the pattern of genetic variation at nearly 500,000 sites within the genome, a process called genotyping. Rosenberg then compared the stem-cell genotypes to databases containing genetic information from 2,001 individuals of known ancestry.

"If we find that a stem cell line is very similar genetically to people from a certain population that has previously been studied, then that's good evidence that the embryonic stem cell line was derived from donors belonging to that population, or a closely related population," Rosenberg said.

Mosher noted that the U-M Life Sciences Institute was created to bring together researchers with different sets of expertise to collaborate on problems they couldn't solve individually.

"This is a perfect example of that type of cross-disciplinary collaboration," said Mosher, an assistant research scientist at LSI. "By combining two seemingly disparate scientific approaches, we were able to make a discovery that adds important new insights."

In addition to Mosher, Morrison and Rosenberg, the paper's authors are Trevor Pemberton, Kristina Harter, Chaolong Wang and Erkan Buzbas of the University of Michigan, Petr Dvorak of Masaryk University in the Czech Republic, and Carlos Simon of Valencia University in Spain.

The study was funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and donors to the U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology, especially the Jeffrey and Susan Liss Fund for the Life Sciences.

Related links:

Read the New England Journal of Medicine article: http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMc0910371

University of Michigan stem cell research site: http://umich.edu/stemcell

U-M Center for Stem Cell Biology: http://www.lsi.umich.edu/facultyresearch/centers/stemcellbiology

Information for potential embryo donors: http://stemcellresearch.umich.edu

U-M Life Sciences Institute: http://lsi.umich.edu

EDITORS: High-resolution images of the scientists are available at: http://umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2009/Dec09/profs

SOURCE University of Michigan Health System


'/>"/>
SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Penn study finds pro-death proteins required to regulate healthy immune function
2. New study shows promise in reducing surgical risks associated with surgical bleeding
3. Study, meta-analysis examine factors associated with death from heatstroke
4. Study suggests loss of 2 types of neurons -- not just 1 -- triggers Parkinsons symptoms
5. Study says COPD testing is not measuring up
6. Preclinical study suggests organ-transplant drug may aid in lupus fight
7. Ability to cope with stress can increase good cholesterol in older white men, study finds
8. High alcohol consumption increases stroke risk, Tulane study says
9. Mailman School of Public Health study examines link between racial discrimination and substance use
10. Pitt study finds inequality in tobacco advertising
11. Stanford study highlights cost-effective method of lowering heart disease risks
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Georgia State University College ... academic programs. , Answering to the increasing demand for curricular specializations, the Certificate ... and environmental and land use law. ,  , “The demand for lawyers with ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... On Memorial Day, Hope For ... their lives in military battle for the country. The nonprofit Hope For Heroes ... more programs that empower independence for disabled military veterans, as well as police, firemen, ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 26, 2016 , ... ... one that has a significant negative impact on long-term patient survival, reports a ... The results, published online this week in the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 2016 , ... MadgeTech will be showcasing its line of data logging ... at the MadgeTech headquarters. With products sold in more than 100 countries around the ... NASA. , In 2012, NASA strategically set up 17 RHTemp101A MadgeTech data ...
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... May 26, 2016 , ... Dr. James Maisel will ... Long Island Chapter on June 4, 2016, 1:30-3:30 pm at the Farmingdale Public ... Retina Group of New York , is a Board Certified ophthalmologist who ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... WELLESLEY, Massachusetts , May 26, 2016 ... sequencing (NGS) has matured into an essential life science ... research and development applications. BCC Research reveals in its ... of a second growth phase, one powered by a ... applied fields.      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140723/694805 ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... May 25, 2016 According to ... Type (3D, 2D, 4D), by Therapeutic Area (Oncology, Cosmeceutical/Plastic ... User (Medical Device Manufacturers, Hospitals/ Clinics) - Forecast to ... Medical Animation Market for the forecast period of 2016 ... 301.3 Million by 2021 from USD 117.3 Million in ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... and GERMANTOWN, Maryland , May 25, ... QGEN ; Frankfurt Prime Standard: QIA) today announced that the ... Therawis Diagnostics GmbH to develop and commercialize predictive assays in ... PITX2 as a marker to predict effectiveness of anthracycline treatment ... "We are pleased to partner with Therawis, which developed ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: