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Curr Opin Genet Dev. 2012 Oct;22(5):429-34. doi: 10.1016/j.gde.2012.07.003. Epub 2012 Oct 15.

Does transcription factor induced pluripotency accurately mimic embryo derived pluripotency?

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Department of Molecular, Cell and Developmental Biology, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, United States.


When Takahashi and Yamanaka first demonstrated that just four transcription factors could reprogram a fibroblast to a pluripotent state, the first wave of data to emerge focused on how similar these induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) were to embryo-derived pluripotent stem cells (ESCs) [1]. The next wave of data focused on determining the degree of difference between iPSCs and ESCs [2]. Now the focus is on tweaking the process to generate iPSCs that are more similar to ESCs [3,4]. Because transcription factor based reprogramming allows for nearly any type of cell to be created from any donor cell, there is obviously enormous interest in this technique as a tool for both basic developmental biology and for clinical applications. In this review, I will attempt to summarize the data that serve to distinguish these types of pluripotent stem cells and speculate on the ramifications of any differences.

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