Published online Aug 26, 2019. doi: 10.4252/wjsc.v11.i8.491
Peer-review started: February 26, 2019
First decision: June 5, 2019
Revised: June 18, 2019
Accepted: June 20, 2019
Article in press: June 20, 2019
Published online: August 26, 2019
Up until the mid 2000s, the capacity to generate every cell of an organism was exclusive to embryonic stem cells. In 2006, researchers Takahashi and Yamanaka developed an alternative method of generating embryonic-like stem cells from adult cells, which they coined induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Such iPSCs possess most of the advantages of embryonic stem cells without the ethical stigma associated with derivation of the latter. The possibility of generating “custom-made” pluripotent cells, ideal for patient-specific disease models, alongside their possible applications in regenerative medicine and reproduction, has drawn a lot of attention to the field with numbers of iPSC studies published growing exponentially. IPSCs have now been generated for a wide variety of species, including but not limited to, mouse, human, primate, wild felines, bovines, equines, birds and rodents, some of which still lack well-established embryonic stem cell lines. The paucity of robust characterization of some of these iPSC lines as well as the residual expression of transgenes involved in the reprogramming process still hampers the use of such cells in species preservation or medical research, underscoring the requirement for further investigations. Here, we provide an extensive overview of iPSC generated from a broad range of animal species including their potential applications and limitations.
Core tip: Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) have opened up the possibility of converting literally any mature cell type into an embryonic like pluripotent state. This procedure has had a large impact on biomedical sciences for patient specific disease modeling, cell-type specific differentiation and regenerative medicine with or without gene editing. These advances are clearly not restricted to human iPSCs, and indeed it was mouse iPSCs that were derived first. In this review we will provide a comprehensive overview of iPSC generated throughout the animal kingdom as well as an elaboration on their possible applications and limitations.