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J Cell Physiol. 1987 Oct;133(1):197-201.

Mouse embryonic stem cells exhibit indefinite proliferative potential.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Oncology, Tsukuba Life Science Center, Ibaraki, Japan.


The proliferative potential of embryonic stem cells was examined. In contrast to the current concept of the finite life-span being the hallmark of normal cells, we have been able to maintain these embryonic stem cells in vitro up to about 250 cumulative doublings with no indication of "crisis" or transformation. These cells could be considered normal on the basis of: (1) their apparently normal diploid karyotype, (2) their ability to extensively colonize embryos without causing tumors and developmental anomalies, and (3) their ability to form normal gametes when differentiated into the germ-line. These results suggest that embryonic stem cells prior to differentiation into germ and somatic cells are indeed immortal.

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