Singapore Scientists Lead Human Embryonic Stem Cell Study
Friday, 02 December 2011
"Not only does this work provide important information for evaluating human embryonic stem cell genetic integrity, it also highlights the general utility of these cells in understanding human biology and disease. This same region has recently been identified to repeatedly occur in numerous human cancer cell types, this likely indicative of similar selection pressures at play in stem cells and cancer cells. Interestingly, we found the propensity for mutation at this location is associated with a relatively recent chromosomal rearrangement that occurred in the last common ancestor of the human, chimp, and gorilla thus pointing to the value of having a comparative perspective for understanding human biology."
"This is a prodigious piece of community work comparing the genome of cell lines from around the world that were sampled after they had been grown in cell culture for a short period of time to samples from the same cell lines taken after they had been in culture for a longer period of time. Scientists at GIS used these globally obtained samples to pinpoint an area of the genome that contains a gene(s) that affects the cell's ability to control its own growth."
"This study took over three years to complete and is a great testimony of the international stem cell community working persistently together as a force for good. A special thanks goes to Prof Peter Andrews for his leadership! The fact that of the 125 cell lines tested, over 65% of them exhibited normal karyotypes in long term culture bodes well for the use of human embryonic stem cells for cell therapy in the future."
Contact: Winnie Serah Lim
The International Stem Cell Initiative
Nature Biotechnology, 27 November, 2011, doi:10.1038/nbt.2051
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