The Niche

A small molecule replaces Sox2, and honors baseball

The standard technique for creating make differentiated cells behave like embryonic stem cells uses viruses to insert the genes cMyc, Klf4, Oct4, and Sox2 into cells, but adding these genes to cells makes them less predictable and more likely to form tumors. Researchers have been able to reprogram neural stem cell using only Oct4, but these cells are not readily available from patient biopsies and so researchers are searching for alternate techniques. New work published in Cell Stem Cell shows that a small druglike molecule can effectively replace two of the four genes typically used to generate induced pluriptotent stem cells. 


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