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Curr Biol. 1998 Aug 27;8(17):971-4.

Generation of purified neural precursors from embryonic stem cells by lineage selection.

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Centre for Genome Research, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells are non-transformed cell lines derived directly from the pluripotent founder tissue in the mouse embryo, the epiblast [1-3]. Aggregation of ES cells triggers the generation of a diverse array of cell types, including neuronal cells [4-7]. This capacity for multilineage differentiation is retained during genetic manipulation and clonal expansion [8]. In principle, therefore, ES cells provide an attractive system for the molecular and genetic dissection of developmental pathways in vitro. They are also a potential source of cells for transplantation studies. These prospects have been frustrated, however, by the disorganised and heterogeneous nature of development in culture. We have therefore developed a strategy for genetic selection of lineage-restricted precursors from differentiating populations. Here, we report that application of such lineage selection enables efficient purification of neuroepithelial progenitor cells that subsequently differentiate efficiently into neuronal networks in the absence of other cell types.

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