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Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol. 2005 Sep;6(9):726-37.

The molecular repertoire of the 'almighty' stem cell.

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  • 1Department of Medicine and Stem Cell Institute, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA.


Stem cells share the defining characteristics of self-renewal, which maintains or expands the stem-cell pool, and multi-lineage differentiation, which generates and regenerates tissues. Stem-cell self-renewal and differentiation are influenced by the convergence of intrinsic cellular signals and extrinsic microenvironmental cues from the surrounding stem-cell niche, but the specific signals involved are poorly understood. Recently, several studies have sought to identify the genetic mechanisms that underlie the stem-cell phenotype. Such a molecular road map of stem-cell function should lead to an understanding of the true potential of stem cells.

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