November 23, 2007
By MARCY DARNOVSKY
Special to The San Jose Mercury News
Research teams at two prestigious universities announced a major feat of biological alchemy this week: They've taken ordinary human cells and turned them into cells with all the characteristics and promise of embryonic stem cells.
This entirely new way to derive what the researchers are calling induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells uses neither eggs nor embryos. Instead, it reprograms body cells, reactivating genes that return them to the undifferentiated state characteristic of "conventional" embryonic stem cells.
If the new technique holds up, it will also reprogram the science and politics of stem-cell research.
For more information on Tides Center project the Center for Genetics and Society, see www.genetics-and-society.org.