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FEBS Lett. 2012 Aug 31;586(18):2874-81. doi: 10.1016/j.febslet.2012.07.024. Epub 2012 Jul 20.

Generating pluripotent stem cells: differential epigenetic changes during cellular reprogramming.

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Cancer Biology and Genetics Program, Center for Cell Engineering, Sloan-Kettering Institute, Gerstner Sloan-Kettering Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, 1275 York Avenue, Box #484, New York, NY 10065, United States.


Pluripotent stem cells hold enomous potential for therapuetic applications in tissue replacement therapy. Reprogramming somatic cells from a patient donor to generate pluripotent stem cells involves both ethical concerns inherent in the use of embryonic and oocyte-derived stem cells, as well as issues of histocompatibility. Among the various pluripotent stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC)--derived by ectopic expression of four reprogramming factors in donor somatic cells--are superior in terms of ethical use, histocompatibility, and derivation method. However, iPSC also show genetic and epigenetic differences that limit their differentiation potential, functionality, safety, and potential clinical utility. Here, we discuss the unique characteristics of iPSC and approaches that are being taken to overcome these limitations.

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