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In 2006, Japanese researchers came up with a new way of creating pluripotent stem cells through epigenetic reprogramming of connective tissue cells. Their discovery has yielded a highly valuable cell type which scientists can use to grow all cells of the human body in a Petri dish.

When culturing these so-called "induced pluripotent stem cells" (iPS cells) as three-dimensional cell aggregates, functional miniature versions of human organs, the so-called organoids, can be created by selectively adding growth factors. In the past years, this technique has been used to create cell culture models of the intestines, the lung, liver, kidneys and the brain, for example.

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Category: Science