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Scripps Research Team Reexamines MicroRNA Profile

An international team of researchers, led by the Scripps Research Institute, used a new approach in discovering that human embryonic stem cells share the same profile of microRNAs.

MicroRNAs are thought to play a role in the regulation of genes, and the findings indicate that microRNAs could play a significant role in regulating how embryonic stem cells change into other cell types, known as pluripotency.

“In the best of all possible worlds, we could use this information to tweak cells to become part of heart cells and to become part of nerve cells,” said Jeanne Loring, a professor at Scripps Research and director of the Scripps Research Center for Regenerative Medicine, who helped lead the study.

Scientists made the discovery by examining 14 different strains of human embryonic stem cells and comparing them with a large group of other cell types. It was the first documented study using Illumina Inc.’s new method for rapidly analyzing microRNAs , a microarray that allowed the scientists to rapidly conduct genetic testing on a mass scale.

The study, published in an online version of the journal Stem Cells on April 10, was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the Edmond J. Safra Bioinformatics, the Christian-Abrechts Universit & #228;t and Hamburger Krebsgesellschaft.

, Heather Chambers

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