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Many studies over the past 10 years, culminating in the recent report of the International Stem Cell Initiative (ISCI, 2011) have shown that hPSC acquire genetic and epigenetic changes during their time in culture. Many of the genetic changes are non-random and recurrent, probably because they provide a selective growth advantage to the undifferentiated cells. Some are shared by embryonal carcinoma cells, the malignant counterparts of ES cells. The origins of these growth advantages are poorly understood, but may come from altered cell cycle dynamics, resistance to apoptosis or altered patterns of differentiation. Less is known about the nature and consequences of epigenetic changes, but it is likely that these similarly affect hPSC behaviour; e.g., enhanced expression of DLK1, an imprinted gene, is associated with altered hPSC growth (Enver et al 2005). Inevitably, these genetic and epigenetic changes will impact on our ability to use hPSC for regenerative medicine, either because malignant transformation of the undifferentiated cells or their differentiated derivatives to be used for transplantation compromises safety, or because they impede the function of those differentiated derivatives, or because they affect the efficiency with which the undifferentiated cells can be expanded and differentiated into desired cell types. Focusing initially upon the existing clinical grade hESC lines, later moving to iPSC, we will Consolidate and extend knowledge of the rate, type and functional impact of the genetic variations that occur during hPSC culture. We will use whole genome and exome sequencing as well as SNP arrays, together with clonal analysis and other cytogenetics techniques. Common changes will be compared with those found in the normal human population, at low frequency in the original cell population or observed during iPSC generation in the HIPSCI project currently based at the WTSI. These studies will provide a better understanding of the range of genetic changes that occur in hPSC beyond the CNVs already identified. In conjunction with cancer genome resources and expertise at WTSI, bioinformatic analyses of these hPSC data will allow us to assess potential impact on hPSC behaviour pertinent to applications in regenerative medicine, notably the likelihood that specific changes arising in undifferentiated PSC cultures may be associated with potential malignant transformation of differentiated progeny. This data is part of a pre-publication release. For information on the proper use of pre-publication data shred by the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute (including details of any publication moratoria), please see

Click on a Dataset ID in the table below to learn more, and to find out who to contact about access to these data

Dataset ID Description Technology Samples
EGAD00001002231 HiSeq X Ten 80
Publications Citations
Low rates of mutation in clinical grade human pluripotent stem cells under different culture conditions.
Nat Commun 11: 2020 1528