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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2007 Jun;11(3):252-8. Epub 2007 May 10.

A chemical approach to stem cell biology.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and the Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology, The Scripps Research Institute, 10550 North Torrey Pines Road, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Small molecule libraries have been used successfully to probe several biological systems. Recent work has translated these successes across to the field of stem cell biology. Stem cells hold promise for both modeling of early development as well as having therapeutic potential. Enhanced understanding of the molecular mechanisms that control stem cell fates as well as an improved ability to manipulate cell populations are required. Known mechanistic chemical compounds have been used with stem cells to accomplish these two goals. More recently, through the utilization of high fitness libraries in phenotype-based screens, several small molecules that control self-renewal and differentiation in stem cells have been identified. These small molecules provide useful chemical tools for both basic research and practical applications.

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