Int. J. Dev. Biol. 52: 801 - 809 (2008)
doi: 10.1387/ijdb.082695ja
© UPV/EHU Press

Pluripotency and differentiation in embryos and stem cells - Pavia, 17-18 January 2008

James A. Adjaye1, Anne G. Byskov2, Jose B. Cibelli3, Ruggero De Maria4, Stephen Minger5, Maurilio Sampaolesi6,7, Giuseppe Testa8, Catherine Verfaillie9, Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz10, Hans Schöler11, Michele Boiani11, Nicola Crosetto12 and Carlo A. Redi13

1Molecular Embryology and Aging group, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Ihnestrabe 73, 14195 Berlin, Germany.2Laboratory of Reproductive Biology, Juliane Marie Centre, Section 5712, the Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej 9, DK-2100 Copenhagen, Denmark.3Cellular Reprogramming Laboratory, Department of Animal Science, B270 Anthony Hall, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA4Istituto Superiore di Sanità, Viale Regina Elena 299, 00161 Roma, Italy.5Stem Cell Biology Laboratory, Wolfson Centre for Age-Related Diseases, King's College London, London SE1 1UL, U.K.6Stamcelinstituut, K U Leuven, Onderwijs & Navorsing 1, Herestraat 49, bus 804, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.7Sezione di Anatomia, Dip. Med. Sperimentale, Università di Pavia, Via Forlanini 8, 27100 Pavia, Italy.8European Institute of Oncology at the IFOM-IEO Campus, Via Adamello, 16, 20139 Milano, Italy.9Stamcelinstituut, K U Leuven, Onderwijs & Navorsing 1, Herestraat 49, bus 804, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.10The Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Tennis Court Road, Cambridge CB2 1QN, U.K.11Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, Röntgenstrabe 20, 48149 Münster, Germany 12 Institute of Biochemistry II, Goethe University Hospital, Theodor-Stern-Kai 7, D-60590 Frankfurt am Main, Germany.13Fondazione IRCCS Policlinico San Matteo, Viale Golgi, 27100 Pavia, Italy.

ABSTRACT Each year many scientific meetings are held on stem cells to appraise the state of knowledge on their potency, differentiation and applications. So why did we hold another meeting? Because we thought one aspect was not adequately addressed in the others. When thinking of how our body is derived from a single fertilized egg, it is self-evident that the embryo is the ‘mother’ of all stem cells. This fact is probably overlooked because it is so remote (decades back in our lives!) and because embryonic stem cells do not exist as such in the embryo. However, this also tends to be ignored on purpose in many stem cell meetings because working on (human) embryos brings up substantial ethical concerns that bear on the scientific undertaking like nothing else. The origin of stem cells has become even more of a sensitive issue since the discovery in 2006 that embryonic stem (ES) cell-like cells can be generated in a petri dish straight from somatic cells by retrovirus-mediated transfer of selected genes. These new cells have been named ‘induced pluripotent stem‘ (iPS) cells and have been obtained without any egg or embryo consumption (Takahashi and Yamanaka, 2006). This leads to the first topic of our meeting: natural and induced pluripotency...

Keywords:

embryo, cancer, differentiation, pluripotency, stem cell, meeting report

*Corresponding author e-mail: mboiani@mpi-muenster.mpg.de