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Semin Hematol. 2013 Apr;50(2):92-100. doi: 10.1053/j.seminhematol.2013.03.029. Epub 2013 Jun 11.

Modeling human hematopoietic stem cell biology in the mouse.

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Research Institute of Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA. Electronic address:


Hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) have the immense task of supplying an organism with enough blood to sustain a lifespan. Much of what is known about how this scant population of cells can meet the varying demand of producing more than 10(11) cells per day comes from studies conducted in an animal that is a fraction of our size and lives roughly 1/30th of our lifespan. The differences in longevity can be expected to impose different demands on a cell essential for existence. It is therefore unsurprising that while the mouse has proven invaluable in defining the organizing principals of how hematopoiesis is governed, mediators of cell localization as well as a range of experimental methods, the differences in cell cycling, DNA repair and specific molecular features of HSCs in humans are evident and important. Here, the utility and drawbacks of the mouse as an experimental model for human HSC biology are discussed.

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