What Defines a Stem Cell? Scientists Rethink the Answer

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According to (This article and its images were originally posted on Quanta Magazine December 4, 2018 at 12:17PM.)

For the past three years, researchers at the Hubrecht Institute in the Netherlands have been painstakingly cataloging and mapping all the proliferating cells found in mouse hearts, looking for cardiac stem cells. The elusive cells should theoretically be able to repair damaged heart muscle, so the stakes in finding them have been high. Indeed, that search, involving many labs over decades, has been marked by heated debate and, recently, a call for the retraction of more than 30 papers for falsified data. This week, however, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences is scheduled to announce the results of the Hubrecht team’s work: no evidence of cardiac stem cells at all.

That conclusion, which confirms a long-standing suspicion among some in the field, cuts to the heart of a deeper question — about what it means to be a stem cell. As more sophisticated technology has revealed just how plastic and heterogeneous cell populations can be, some researchers have transitioned from viewing “stemness” as the defining trait of a cell category to viewing it as a function many types of cells can perform or contribute to.

 

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This article and images were originally posted on [Quanta Magazine] December 4, 2018 at 12:17PM. Credit to the original author and Quanta Magazine | ESIST.T>G>S Recommended Articles Of The Day.

 

 

 

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