Hey presto! Brain cells from mouse tails


By Ewen Callaway In a feat of cellular alchemy, connective tissue from a mouse’s tail has been transformed directly into working brain cells. Ordinarily, so drastic a makeover would require the creation of so-called induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells and then turning these into neurons, an inefficient process that can take weeks. Marius Wernig and colleagues at Stanford University in California discovered that inserting a cocktail of three genes into fibroblasts turns them directly into neurons in just days. “The real surprise was that this conversion is extremely efficient,” he says. By many indications,
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