The Gladstone Institutes made a discovery using the CRISPR technology. By activating a specific gene, researchers were able to turn skin cells from mice into stem cells. This potentially allows scientists to produce valuable cell types, while providing insight pertaining to cellular reprogramming process.
Senior investigator of Gladstone Institute, Sheng Ding, PhD, discovered that there is the way to reprogram a cell by unlocking a specific location of the genome. Pluripotent cells, iPSCs, have the ability to turn into virtually any cell type in the body. These kinds of cells are used in therapeutic purposes for incurable conditions. These cells are also useful when studying diseases and testing new drugs. The pluripotent stem cells were made by treating ordinary skin cells with transcription factors that work by changing the genes expressed in the cell. Doing so turns off the genes associated with the skin cells and turns on the genes associated with the stem cells.
One other way to turn skin cells into stem cells is by using the CRISPR gene to manipulate the cell genomes. CRISPR is useful when manipulating genomes and targeting a unique sequence of DNA. Targeting a location in the genome would trigger a chain reaction that converted the cell to a pluripotent cell.
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