Genome Institute of Singapore Scientists Propose a New Paradigm for Embryonic Stem Cells, Potentially Speeding Up Development of Disease Therapies
Published: Apr 07, 2011
By re-examining current data with a fresh eye, Lim and Loh were able to suggest a novel paradigm that may resolve the 30-year-old mystery behind pluripotency. The prevailing model of stem cell pluripotency suggests that stem cell genes active in ES cells prevent these stem cells from turning into specific cell types. This model accounts for how ES cells can remain undifferentiated, but is unable to explain convincingly the ability of stem cells to create any bodily cell type. Lim and Loh suggest that, contrary to current thinking, individual stem cell genes do not completely suppress differentiation, but instead actively direct ES cells to produce particular bodily cell types. In their new paradigm, Lim and Loh propose that the activation of a combination of such stem cell genes within ES cells is what enables ES cells to create any bodily cell type.