Newly published research by scientists at Oregon Health & Science University provides significant new information about how early embryonic stem cells develop and take part in formation of the primate species. The research, which took place at OHSU’s Oregon National Primate Research Center, has also resulted in the first successful birth of chimeric monkeys -- monkeys developed from stem cells taken from two separate embryos. The research will be published this week in the online edition of the journal Cell and will be published in a future printed copy of the journal.
The research was conducted to gain a better understanding of the differences between natural stem cells residing in early embryos and their cultured counterparts called embryonic stem cells. This study also determined that stem cell functions and abilities are different between primates and rodents.
Here’s more information about the early primate stem cells that were studied: The first cell type was totipotent cells – cells from the early embryo that have the ability to divide and produce all of the differentiated cells in the placenta and the body of organism. These were compared with pluripotent cells – cells derived from the later stage embryo that have only the ability to become the body but not placenta.