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Japanese institute investigates claim that acid solution can transform mature mice cells into stem cells

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1695 (Published 20 February 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1695
  1. Nigel Hawkes
  1. 1London

A claim that was described as “revolutionary” and a “game changer” in stem cell biology has been called into question as the Japanese institute from which it originated opened an investigation into its credibility.

In January a team from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology in Kobe reported that it had reprogrammed mature mice cells into an embryonic state by brief exposure to an acid solution. The discovery came from Haruko Obokata, a biologist working at the centre, and coworkers including the US anaesthetist Charles Vacanti of Harvard Medical School. Two papers describing the achievement were published in Nature1 …

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