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Stem Cell Rev. 2012 Mar;8(1):32-42. doi: 10.1007/s12015-011-9269-z.

From RNAi screens to molecular function in embryonic stem cells.

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University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus and Medical Faculty, University of Technology Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, 01307, Dresden, Germany.


The ability of embryonic stem (ES) cells to generate any of the around 220 cell types of the adult body has fascinated scientists ever since their discovery. The capacity to re-program fully differentiated cells into induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells has further stimulated the interest in ES cell research. Fueled by this interest, intense research has provided new insights into the biology of ES cells in the recent past. The development of large-scale and high throughput RNAi technologies has made it possible to sample the role of every gene in maintaining ES cell identity. Here, we review the RNAi screens performed in ES cells to date and discuss the challenges associated with these large-scale experiments. Furthermore, we provide a perspective on how to streamline the molecular characterization following the initial phenotypic description utilizing bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) transgenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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