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Cell. 2008 Feb 22;132(4):532-6. doi: 10.1016/j.cell.2008.02.006.

Capturing pluripotency.

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  • 1Wellcome Trust Centre for Stem Cell Research and Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QR, UK.


In this Essay, we argue that pluripotent epiblast founder cells in the embryo and embryonic stem (ES) cells in culture represent the ground state for a mammalian cell, signified by freedom from developmental specification or epigenetic restriction and capacity for autonomous self-replication. We speculate that cell-to-cell variation may be integral to the ES cell condition, safe-guarding self-renewal while continually presenting opportunities for lineage specification.

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