Reprogrammed Stem Cells Still Need Work Before Wider Use
However, recent studies have demonstrated that iPS cells do not reprogram perfectly. Researchers at the Salk Institute showed that iPS cells hold onto a “memory” of their past identity. They observed changes in DNA that regulate how genes dial on and off.
The processes through which iPS cells are reprogrammed can also cause abnormalities in the DNA itself, which can alter the cells’ basic genetic blueprint and affect their future usefulness.
Researcher Kun Zhang of the University of San Diego, a coauthor on the other paper, said the abnormalities were “permanent genome scars.”
Researchers recommended that iPS cells undergo careful genetic screening before use by lab scientists or doctors.