Epigenetic stability of embryonic stem cells and developmental potential

Pannetier, M.; Feil, R.

Trends Biotechnol

2007-12 / vol 25 / pages 556-62


Recent studies highlight the tremendous potential of human embryonic stem (ES) cells and their derivatives as therapeutic tools for degenerative diseases. However, derivation and culture of ES cells can induce epigenetic alterations, which can have long lasting effects on gene expression and phenotype. Research on human and mouse stem cells indicates that developmental, cancer-related genes, and genes regulated by genomic imprinting are particularly susceptible to changes in DNA methylation. Together with the occurrence of genetic alterations, epigenetic instability needs to be monitored when considering human stem cells for therapeutic and technological purposes. Here, we discuss the maintenance of epigenetic information in cultured stem cells and embryos and how this influences their developmental potential.

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IGMM team(s) involved in this publication

Humans; Animals; DNA Methylation; *Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental; Epigenesis, Genetic/*physiology; Neoplasms/genetics; Embryonic Stem Cells/*physiology

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