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

onal 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 previo
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SOURCE University of Michigan Health System
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