Engineering Pluripotency

Scientists continue to make progress towards reverse-engineering the workings of our cells. At some point, they will understand how to make a pluripotent cell from any cell; this will make a great many avenues of research and regenerative medicine much easier. From EurekAlert!: "With the introduction of just four factors, researchers have successfully induced differentiated cells taken from mouse embryos or adult mice to behave like embryonic stem cells. ... The [cells] exhibit the physical, growth, and genetic characteristics typical of embryonic stem cells ... We have demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells can be directly generated from fibroblast cultures by the addition of only a few defined factors ... Fibroblasts make up structural fibers found in connective tissue. ... The finding is an important step in controlling pluripotency, which may eventually allow the creation of pluripotent cells directly from somatic cells of patients."