Making Strides in Genomic Engineering of Human Stem Cells

Genetically engineered human stem cells. Credit: Jeff Miller, University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Genetically engineered human stem cells hold promise for basic biomedical research as well as for regenerative medicine. Credit: Jeff Miller, University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs) can multiply indefinitely and give rise to virtually all human cell types. Manipulating the genomes of these cells in order to remove, replace or correct specific genes holds promise for basic biomedical research as well as medical applications. But precisely engineering the genomes of hPSCs is a challenge. A research team led by Erik Sontheimer of Northwestern University and James Thomson of the Morgridge Institute for Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison developed a technique that could be a great improvement over existing, labor-intensive methods. Their approach uses an RNA-guided enzyme from Neisseria meningitidis bacteria—part of a recently discovered bacterial immune system—to efficiently target and modify specific DNA sequences in the genome of hPSCs. The technique could eventually enable the repair or replacement of diseased or injured cells in people with some types of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and other illnesses.

This work also was funded by NIH’s National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences.

Learn more:

Northwestern University News Release Exit icon
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Remarkable RNAs
Once Upon a Stem Cell

One comment on “Making Strides in Genomic Engineering of Human Stem Cells

  1. Pluripotent cells. I first heard that from Dr. Warren Ranjithan Breckenridge at the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. 1973. It is so nice President Barrack H. Obama opened the flood gates finally for the life science to flourish for ever.

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