Junying Yu, James A Thomson
Genes & Development
The derivation of human embryonic stem cells 10 years ago ignited an explosion of public interest in stem cells, yet this achievement depended on prior decades of research on mouse embryonic carcinoma cells and embryonic stem cells. In turn, the recent derivation of mouse and human induced pluripotent stem cells depended on the prior studies on mouse and human embryonic stem cells. Both human embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells can self-renew indefinitely in vitro while maintaining the ability to differentiate into advanced derivatives of all three germ layers, features very useful for understanding the differentiation and function of human tissues, for drug screen and toxicity testing, and for cellular transplantation therapies. Here we review the family of pluripotent cell lines derived from early embryos and from germ cells, and compare them with the more recently described induced pluripotent stem cells.
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