Stem cells are miraculous in the sense that they can be manipulated and coaxed to differentiate into whatever cell type there is available in the body that it originated from. This knowledge was tested by the researchers from Wellcome Trust and Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute alongside their colleagues at the Weizmann Institute of Science.
It turns out that SOX17, a transcription factor, acts as a key regulator in the development of human primordial germ cells. The study was then published in Cell magazine in December 24, 2014.
Transcription Factor SOX17
This particular transcription factor was previously linked with endoderm lineages. In the research, the scientists have discovered that SOX17 pushed the human induced pluripotent stem cells towards the creation of either female or male germline lineages. Using this technique, the researchers aimed to make early sperm and egg-like cells in vitro.
According to Amander Clark of the University of California, it is fascinating that the researchers were able to produce progenitor germline cells in the lab with a relatively high efficiency.
The study researchers, however, said that their research can be improved upon. They’ve stated that they’re anticipating certain genome editing approaches to come up by using their robust in vitro technique for generating human primordial germ cells.
This can be done in combination with hiPSCs or patient specific human induced pluripotent stem cells. Using such will lead to huge advanced in human germ cell biology, they remarked.