From skin cells to stem cells

Another big step in generating stem cells without using embryos. This finding was made in Japan, and before you get all skeptical, it was replicated by two labs in America. It’s not a magic bullet but neither are embryonic stem cells.

The iPS cells aren’t perfect, and could not be used safely to make genetically matched cells for transplant in, for example, spinal-cord injuries. Yamanaka found that one of the factors seems to contribute to cancer in 20% of his chimaeric mice.

One of the top science stories of the year so far.