New stem cell technique improves genetic alteration

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Washington, Mar 10 (UNI) Scientists have discovered a method for genetically manipulating human embryonic stem cells that will aid to study diseases like muscular dystrophy and diabetes.

The technique for the first time blends two existing cell-handling methods to improve cell survival rates and increase the efficiency of inserting DNA into cells, Science Daily reported.

The new approach is up to 100 times more efficient than current methods at producing human embryonic stem cells with desired genetic alterations.

''The ability to generate large quantities of cells with altered genes opens the door to new research into many devastating disorders,'' Professor of biological chemistry and developmental cell biology Peter Donovan said.

''Not only will it allow us to study diseases more in-depth, it also could be a key step in the successful development of future stem cell therapies,'' he said.

''Before our technique, genetic modification of human embryonic stem cells largely was inefficient,'' another researcher Hohenstein said.

''This is a stepping stone for bigger things to come,'' he said.

The new technique can be used to develop populations of cells with abnormalities that lead to disease. They can then study those cells to learn more about the disorder and how it is caused.

This technique can be used to correct the disorder in stem cells, then use the healthy cells in a treatment.

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