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See Inside February 2008

Potent Alternative

Reverse-engineered human stem cells may leapfrog the embryonic kind

Thomson and other developers of the new alchemy emphasize that embryonic stem cells remain invaluable research tools and will be crucial for confirming that iPS cells harbor no hidden limitations. Reprogrammed cells “might differ in clinically relevant ways from embryonic stem cells,” Thomson notes. “People want to rush and say we don’t need embryonic stem cells anymore, and over time that might be true, but right now that’s premature.”

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