Scientists reprogram embryonic stem cells to expand their potential cell fates

Researchers from the University of California, Berkeley, have found a way to reprogram mouse embryonic stem cells so that they exhibit developmental characteristics resembling those of fertilized eggs, or zygotes.

These “totipotent-like” stem cells are able to generate not only all cell types within a developing embryo, but also cell types that facilitate nutrient exchange between the embryo and the mother.

For now, the new stem cell lines UC Berkeley researchers have created will help scientists understand the first molecular decisions made in the early embryo. Ultimately, however, these insights could broaden the repertoire of tissues that can be generated from stem cells, with significant implications for regenerative medicine and stem cell-based therapy.

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