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    ABSTRACT: Biobanks provide an important repository of samples for research purposes. However, for those samples to reflect the in vivo state, and for experimental reliability and reproducibility, careful attention to collection, processing and storage is essential. This is particularly true for the placenta, which is potentially subjected to stressful conditions during delivery, and sample collection may be delayed owing to routine postpartum inspection by clinical staff. In addition, standardisation of the collection procedure enables samples to be shared among research groups, allowing larger datasets to be established. Here, we provide an evidence-based and experts' review of the factors surrounding collection that may influence data obtained from the human placenta. We outline particular requirements for specific techniques, and propose a protocol for optimal sample collection. We recognise that the relevance of these factors, and of the sample types collected to a particular study will depend on the research questions being addressed. We therefore anticipate that researchers will select from the protocol to meet their needs and resources available. Wherever possible, we encourage researchers to extend their collection to include additional samples that can be shared on an international collaborative basis, with appropriate informed consent, to raise the quality, as well as quantity, of placental research.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Placenta
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    ABSTRACT: Trophoblast stem cells (TSCs) are a self-renewing stem cell population derived from the early trophoblast lineage, analogous to embryonic stem cells (ESCs) that can be generated from the inner cell mass (ICM) of the mouse blastocyst. In that sense TSCs and ESCs reflect the earliest lineage differentiation event after fertilization. TSCs are characterized by an indefinite proliferation potential and by multipotency, i.e. the ability to differentiate into all the various trophoblast cell types of the placenta. These properties are driven by specific signalling pathways orchestrating characteristic transcriptional outputs. Here we review the recent advances in studying the signalling cascades and the transcriptional regulatory networks that define specification and maintenance of TSCs, and provide a future outlook of TSC research.
    No preview · Article · Nov 2013 · Placenta
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    ABSTRACT: A report on the UK Genome Science Meeting, held at the University of Nottingham, UK, 2-4 September 2013.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Genome biology
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