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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A Stem Cell 'Milestone'


Scientists reprogram human skin cells to behave like embryonic stem cells, a breakthrough that would eliminate ethical concerns

By Karen Kaplan, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

Human skin cells can be reprogrammed to behave almost exactly like embryonic stem cells, a discovery that provides a road map for creating personalized biological repair kits without ethical strings attached, scientists reported today.

By activating a handful of dormant genes, the researchers were able to coax the cells to go backward in time to a point in embryonic development before they had committed to becoming facial skin. The rejuvenated cells were able to grow into all the main tissue types in the body, including muscle, gut, cartilage, neurons and heart cells.

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