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Nat Genet. 2005 Nov;37(11):1201-6.

Mice in the world of stem cell biology.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, The Rockefeller University, Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development, 1230 York Avenue Box 300, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The ability of embryos to diversify and of some adult tissues to regenerate throughout life is directly attributable to stem cells. These cells have the capacity to self-renew-that is, to divide and to create additional stem cells-and to differentiate along a specific lineage. The differentiation of pluripotent embryonic stem cells along specific cell lineages has been used to understand the molecular mechanisms involved in tissue development. The often endless capacity of embryonic stem cells to generate differentiated cell types positions the field of stem cells at the nexus between developmental biologists, who are fascinated by the properties of these cells, and clinicians, who are excited about the prospects of bringing stem cells from bench to bedside to treat degenerative disorders and injuries for which there are currently no cures. Here we highlight the importance of mice in stem cell biology and in bringing the world one step closer to seeing these cells brought to fruition in modern medicine.

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