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Researchers Create Genetically-Matched Embryonic Stem Cells for Transplantation

There are also potential safety concerns. Embryonic stem cells created through parthenogenesis have altered expression of certain genes that are “imprinted.” Imprinted genes are marked for expression in a special way based on whether they are passed to offspring by the egg or the sperm. Because parthenogenetic embryonic stem cells are made from eggs only, they carry no paternally imprinted genes, and instead carry two copies of maternally imprinted genes. Altered expression of imprinted genes has been linked with cancer and poor growth in some tissues. In addition, embryonic stem cells created through parthenogenesis may have some regions of their genome that contain duplicated copies of mutant genes that have been linked with malignancies or abnormal tissue growth.

“Right now this technique is useful for basic research, but we are hopeful that parthenogenetic cells might prove useful for therapies,” Daley says. “Our cells produce normal tissues in mice, and there is a report in the clinical literature of a human patient whose blood was derived entirely from parthenogenetic cells. However, we’ll have to demonstrate the safety and durability of cells derived from parthenogenetic embryonic stem cells before we could imagine any clinical use.”

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, an NIH Director’s Pioneer Award of the NIH Roadmap for Medical Research, a Burroughs Wellcome Fund Clinical Scientist Award in Translational Research, the Cooley’s Anemia Foundation, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Source-Newswise
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