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UCLA researchers examine human embryonic stem cell genome
Date:3/27/2008

Stem cell researchers from UCLA used a high resolution technique to examine the genome, or total DNA content, of a pair of human embryonic stem cell lines and found that while both lines could form neurons, the lines had differences in the numbers of certain genes that could control such things as individual traits and disease susceptibility.

The technique used to study the genome, which contains all the genes on 46 chromosomes, is called array CGH. The use of higher resolution techniques, such as array CGH and, soon, whole genome sequencing, will enhance the ability of researchers to examine stem cell lines to determine which are best least likely to result in diseases and other problems to use in creating therapies for use in humans.

Array CGH provided a much better look at the gene content on the chromosomes of human embryonic stem cells, with a resolution about 100 times better than standard clinical methods. Clinical specialists commonly generate a karyotype to examine the chromosomes of cancer cells or for amniocentesis in prenatal diagnosis, which has a much lower resolution than Array CGH, said Michael Teitell, a researcher with the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research and the senior author of the study. Small defects that could result in big problems later on could be missed using karyotyping for stem cells.

Basically, this study shows that the genetic makeup of individual human embryonic stem cell lines is unique in the numbers of copies of certain genes that may control traits and things like disease susceptibility, said Teitell, who also is an associate professor of pathology and laboratory medicine and a researcher at UCLAs Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center. So, in choosing stem cell lines to use for therapeutic applications, you want to know about these differences so you dont pick a line likely to cause problems for a patient receiving these cells.

The study appear
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Contact: Kim Irwin
kirwin@mednet.ucla.edu
310-435-9457
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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