News of the WeekSTEM CELLS

Reprogrammed Cells Come Up Short, for Now

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Science  05 Mar 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5970, pp. 1191
DOI: 10.1126/science.327.5970.1191

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Stem cell research offers an ever-shifting battlefield, with vested interests and biologists squabbling over the political, ethical, and scientific merits of different types of cells. Now two recent papers have dragged the new kid on the block, induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells, into the fray. Those papers offer some of the first side-by-side comparisons of human iPS and human embryonic stem (hES) cells as they differentiate into various kinds of cells. In both papers, researchers report that iPS cells can form desired cell types, but they do so with less efficiency than hES cells.