A hotly debated topic within the specialised scientific world is whether or not human iPS cells are similar to human embryonic cells, which raise too so many ethical issues.

It is a mistake to believe that this, in principle, is a problem with exclusively technical implications, i.e. of interest only to scientists who work in this field, because saying that human iPS (hiPS) cells and human embryonic cells are molecularly and functionally similar depends to a large extent on whether the hiPS cells can be used or not in the future in human medicine, and especially whether hiPS cells can replace the use of human embryonic stem cells, which raise so many ethical issues. (See HERE)

An interesting study has now been published (Nature Biotechnology 33; 1173-1181, 2015), in which Konrad Hochedlinger’s group from Harvard University conclude that “human embryonic stem cells and hiPS cells are molecularly and functionally equivalent and cannot be distinguished genetically”. They also claim that the genetic differences previously detected between both types of cells were due to technical problems, which they have apparently resolved with a new reprogramming method that they describe in their paper.


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