COMMUNITY SITE: Stem Cell Central

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Science  03 Feb 2006:
Vol. 311, Issue 5761, pp. 585
DOI: 10.1126/science.311.5761.585a

Human embryonic stem cells excite researchers because they can theoretically diversify into any tissue in the body. But the existing stem cell lines were grown under a variety of conditions—some came from frozen embryos, some didn't, for instance—that could affect their performance. Researchers can nab up-to-date information on available lines at the Stem Cell Community, a year-old site from the Burnham Institute in San Diego, California. After completing the free registration, visitors can scan a database that describes more than 240 stem cell lines, including 53 approved for study with U.S. government funds. Users will find information such as where the cells came from, what protein markers they sport, whether they've ever been frozen, and whether they were nurtured with mouse feeder cells. Site co-curator Jeanne Loring says that to fill out the cell portraits, she and her colleagues are gathering microarray measurements of gene activity, data on genetic variability, and other information. The site also includes a Community Information section where you can track down courses on rearing stem cells or peruse a news archive.

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