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Methods Mol Biol. 2013;997:179-90. doi: 10.1007/978-1-62703-348-0_14.

Cellular characterization of human pluripotent stem cells.

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  • 1Primary and Stem Cell Systems, Life Technologies, Carlsbad, CA, USA.


Human pluripotent stem cells (PSCs), in particular induced PSCs, are very difficult to derive, grow, and bank. They require extensive amounts of resources and time to render them useful for basic and applied research. As the derivation methods, culture systems and tissues of origin differ, so does the quality of the PSCs themselves. Consequently, there are generally accepted molecular and cellular markers that serve as benchmarks of pluripotency. PSCs undergo rigorous qualification before they can be truly considered a stem cell or completely reprogrammed into a stem-like cell as in the case of iPSCs. Morphology is a good indicator of PSCs but the further qualification of cellular markers of pluripotency and differential potential is necessary. The standard methods enclosed in this chapter delineate the techniques necessary to qualify PSCs at the cellular level.

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