how are induced pluripotent stem cells made?


and can I make them?

In: 6

Well as I’m sure you know, the behavior of cells is controlled by their DNA. More specifically, genes can be turned on and off like switches, which happens naturally as stem cells differentiate themselves into somatic (body) cells, like bones cells, blood cells, muscle, skin, and so on.

Through much research, we discovered a number of these genetic switches that when flipped the right away, allow differentiated cells to turn back into pluripotent stem cells.

Today, we use modified retroviruses to make small edits to the cells’ DNA to flip those switches. Retroviruses are just viruses that actually integrate themselves into the host’s DNA.

So basically, you take a sample of cells from a person, usually some skin cells because that’s easy, use some modified retroviruses to flip some genetic switches, then it’s just a matter of growing them.

You could certainly do this yourself if you wanted, but you’d need a decent amount of equipment and know-how to grow a culture of human cells in a home lab. But you can technically purchase all the equipment and reagents you’d need online.