Scientists have identified about two dozen genes that control embryonic stem cell fate. The genes may either prod or restrain stem cells from drifting into a kind of limbo, they suspect. The limbo lies between the embryonic stage and fully differentiated, or specialized, cells, such as bone, muscle or fat.
By knowing the genes and proteins that control a cell’s progress toward the differentiated form, researchers may be able to accelerate the process — a potential boon for the use of stem cells in therapy or the study of some degenerative diseases, the scientists say.
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