Research Press Release

Induced pluripotent stem cells from endangered species

Nature Methods

September 5, 2011

Induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from two endangered species, the silver-maned drill monkey and the northern white rhinoceros, are reported in a paper published online this week in Nature Methods. Endangered species iPS cells will provide a source of material for the biological study of otherwise rare animals. iPS cells have generated much excitement for human disease modeling and possibly for eventual therapy. But this technology may prove useful for other applications as well. For instance, iPS cells from endangered species could be useful for basic research, disease modeling and possibly for preservation efforts in these species. Jeanne Loring and colleagues describe the generation of iPS cells from the silver-maned drill and the northern white rhinoceros. The latter species is close to extinction, with only eight living animals known today. The report is the first step towards application of iPS cell technology to species preservation, an effort that faces many challenges, such as efficient conversion of stem cells to functional gametes for assisted reproduction.

DOI:10.1038/nmeth.1706 | Original article

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