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      PUBLIC CONCERN ABOUT GENETICS

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      Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics

      Annual Reviews

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          Abstract

          Throughout the twentieth century and continuing into the present, the general public has been fascinated by advances in genetic knowledge. At times, individuals and groups have either inadvertently or deliberately misused genetic knowledge in the service of political goals. At other times, advances in genetics have challenged deeply held societal or religious beliefs. During the 1990s, there were many advances that focused an unprecedented level of public attention and concern on genetics. In particular, the public has expressed deep concern about gene mapping, cloning, and genetically modified foods. In each case, the origin of the concern and the nature of the public response have been different. I consider these topics and argue that the scientific community must increase its commitment to public discourse.

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          Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells.

          Fertilization of mammalian eggs is followed by successive cell divisions and progressive differentiation, first into the early embryo and subsequently into all of the cell types that make up the adult animal. Transfer of a single nucleus at a specific stage of development, to an enucleated unfertilized egg, provided an opportunity to investigate whether cellular differentiation to that stage involved irreversible genetic modification. The first offspring to develop from a differentiated cell were born after nuclear transfer from an embryo-derived cell line that had been induced to become quiescent. Using the same procedure, we now report the birth of live lambs from three new cell populations established from adult mammary gland, fetus and embryo. The fact that a lamb was derived from an adult cell confirms that differentiation of that cell did not involve the irreversible modification of genetic material required for development to term. The birth of lambs from differentiated fetal and adult cells also reinforces previous speculation that by inducing donor cells to become quiescent it will be possible to obtain normal development from a wide variety of differentiated cells.
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            Hereditary genius: An inquiry into its laws and consequences.

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              Derivation of pluripotent stem cells from cultured human primordial germ cells.

              Human pluripotent stem cells would be invaluable for in vitro studies of aspects of human embryogenesis. With the goal of establishing pluripotent stem cell lines, gonadal ridges and mesenteries containing primordial germ cells (PGCs, 5-9 weeks postfertilization) were cultured on mouse STO fibroblast feeder layers in the presence of human recombinant leukemia inhibitory factor, human recombinant basic fibroblast growth factor, and forskolin. Initially, single PGCs in culture were visualized by alkaline phosphatase activity staining. Over a period of 7-21 days, PGCs gave rise to large multicellular colonies resembling those of mouse pluripotent stem cells termed embryonic stem and embryonic germ (EG) cells. Throughout the culture period most cells within the colonies continued to be alkaline phosphatase-positive and tested positive against a panel of five immunological markers (SSEA-1, SSEA-3, SSEA-4, TRA-1-60, and TRA-1-81) that have been used routinely to characterize embryonic stem and EG cells. The cultured cells have been continuously passaged and found to be karyotypically normal and stable. Both XX and XY cell cultures have been obtained. Immunohistochemical analysis of embryoid bodies collected from these cultures revealed a wide variety of differentiated cell types, including derivatives of all three embryonic germ layers. Based on their origin and demonstrated properties, these human PGC-derived cultures meet the criteria for pluripotent stem cells and most closely resemble EG cells.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics
                Annu. Rev. Genom. Hum. Genet.
                Annual Reviews
                1527-8204
                1545-293X
                September 2000
                September 2000
                : 1
                : 1
                : 485-506
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Shriver Center for Mental Retardation, Inc., Waltham, Massachusetts 02462; e-mail:
                Article
                10.1146/annurev.genom.1.1.485
                © 2000

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