Article

Human pluripotent stem cells: an emerging model in developmental biology

Developmental Biology Program, Sloan-Kettering Institute, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Development (Impact Factor: 6.27). 02/2013; 140(4):705-17. DOI: 10.1242/dev.086165
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Developmental biology has long benefited from studies of classic model organisms. Recently, human pluripotent stem cells (hPSCs), including human embryonic stem cells and human induced pluripotent stem cells, have emerged as a new model system that offers unique advantages for developmental studies. Here, we discuss how studies of hPSCs can complement classic approaches using model organisms, and how hPSCs can be used to recapitulate aspects of human embryonic development 'in a dish'. We also summarize some of the recently developed genetic tools that greatly facilitate the interrogation of gene function during hPSC differentiation. With the development of high-throughput screening technologies, hPSCs have the potential to revolutionize gene discovery in mammalian development.

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