quence. These changes are reversible, and to some extent can be stripped away from chromosomes during the nuclear transfer process. This epigenetic reprogramming removes the "memory" of the skin cell's chromosomes, allowing them to act like embryonic chromosomes instead. Because one of a female's two X chromosomes is inactivated through epigenetic modifications, female cells have to undergo a more complicated epigenetic reprogramming than male ones.
While the new research shows that adult skin stem cells can be a promising starting point for cloning mice, Fuchs said she is more enthusiastic about these cells' potential for generating embryonic stem cells. Instead of implanting blastocysts and cloning mice, the blastocysts can be cultured in the laboratory to generate embryonic stem cells. In theory, these embryonic stem cells could be coaxed into producing any other type of cell, from neurons to muscle cells to skin cells. Fuchs said that is the use of nuclear transfer technology that researchers would like translate to human. All it would involve, she pointed out, is an unfertilized oocyte, a skin biopsy, and a tissue culture dish.
If embryonic stem cells can be generated from a patient's skin, and then used to create cells or tissues according to the patient's specific need, the problem of immune rejection might be circumvented. "As importantly, these cells would also allow scientists to study the disease," said Fuchs.
Fuchs cautioned that human applications are far in the future. "We don't have the capability of generating human embryonic stem cells from skin cells, and scientists are still learning how to differentiate embryonic stem cells into different cell types, such as particular types of neurons or pancreatic islet cells," she said.
Contact: Jennifer Michalowski
Howard Hughes Medical Institute 12-Feb-2007Page: 1 2 3 Related biology news :1
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