• Induced pluripotent stem cells (known as iPSCs) are similar to human embryonic stem cells in that both cell types have the unique ability to self-renew and have the flexibility to become any cell in the human body. iPSC cells, however, are generated by reprogramming skin or blood cells and do not require an embryo.
  • Reprogramming is a long process (about one to two weeks) and largely inefficient, with typically less than one percent of the primary skin or blood cells successfully completing the journey to becoming an iPSC. The exact stages a cell goes through during the reprogramming process are also not well understood.
  • Plath’s team found that the changes that happen in cells during reprogramming occur in a sequential stage-by-stage manner, and that importantly, the stages were the same across all the different reprogramming systems and different cell types analyzed. They also found that it is not simply the reversed sequence of stages of embryo development.

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