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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jun 7;102(23):8239-44. Epub 2005 May 25.

Derivation of germ-line-competent embryonic stem cell lines from preblastocyst mouse embryos.

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Mammalian Development Laboratory, Department of Zoology, University of Oxford, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom.


The first differentiation event of the mammalian embryo is thought to occur during blastulation and results in two populations of cells, the inner cell mass (ICM) and the trophectoderm. Most embryonic stem (ES) cell lines have been derived from the ICM or a further subset of ICM cells known as the epiblast. There appears to be a limited period of embryonic development during which pluripotent ES cells can be adapted from the cells of the blastocyst to culture. A method is presented here that allows ES cell lines to be isolated from preblastocyst mouse embryos. These lines were derived from 129S2/SvHsd mouse morulae and earlier cleavage stages with high efficiency. The lines expressed genes and antigens characteristic of pluripotent ES cells. XY cell lines remained karyotypically stable through extensive passaging and produced germ-line-competent chimeras upon blastocyst injection. These results suggest that true ES cells can be derived from embryos explanted at any stage of preimplantation development in the mouse. This finding raises the interesting question of whether ES cell lines derived from embryos at different stages of preimplantation development possess the same potential.

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