Cells Rewrite Their Own Destiny

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Science  17 Dec 2010:
Vol. 330, Issue 6011, pp. 1618
DOI: 10.1126/science.330.6011.1618

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By prompting a cell to overexpress a few genes, researchers have discovered in the past decade how to turn a skin or blood cell into a pluripotent cell: one that has regained the potential to become any number of cells in the body. Other genes can prompt skin cells to turn directly into neurons or blood cells. Scientists are already using the technique to make cell lines from patients with hard-to-study diseases, and ultimately they hope to grow genetically matched replacement cells and tissues—perhaps even entire organs.