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Complete Genomes Sequenced of Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

Human embryonic stem cell colony (Clay Glennon/Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, NIGMS)

Human embryonic stem cell colony (Clay Glennon/Univ of Wisconsin-Madison, NIGMS)

Researchers from industry, research institutes, and universities in the U.S. and Korea have conducted a complete genomic sequence analysis of five human embryonic stem cell lines. Their findings appear online in the journal Stem Cell Research (paid subscription required).

The authors describe a systematic application of current molecular technologies to provide a detailed understanding of genomic and sequence profiles of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) lines owned by biotechnology company BioTime of Alameda, California. The paper analyzes several key features that can affect transplantation (e.g., blood type, tissue compatibility), and discusses methods to ensure the integrity of these lines and products derived from them.

Walter Funk, a vice president at BioTime and the paper’s lead author says the genome sequencing of the company’s hESC lines “is an important step in defining the quality of these products and their suitability for clinical applications,” specifically “to generate cellular therapeutic products”.

Genomes of hESCs, like all human cells, may have mutations that can cause disease or increase the propensity to develop disease. Complete genome sequencing allows researchers to review the integrity of these gene classes, which increases the probability that the cells intended for human transplantation will be healthy and not carry disease-causing mutations.

In addition to Funk, authors include colleagues from Biotime, the Ernest Gallo Clinic and Research Center in Emeryville, California, University of California at San Francisco, Cell Line Genetics Inc. in Madison, Wisconsin, Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea, and Complete Genomics Inc. in Mountain View, California.

Read more: Biotech Makes Available Stem Cell Lines to Researchers

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