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Highly Accessed Opinion

The 'stem cell' concept: is it holding us back?

Arthur D Lander

Author Affiliations

Center for Complex Biological Systems, Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, and Department of Biomedical Engineering, University of California at Irvine, Irvine, CA 92697-2300

Journal of Biology 2009, 8:70  doi:10.1186/jbiol177

Published: 21 September 2009

Abstract

Developmental biology, regenerative medicine and cancer biology are increasingly occupied with the molecular characterization of stem cells. Yet recent work adds to a growing body of literature suggesting that 'stemness' cannot be reduced to the molecular features of cell types, and is instead an emergent property of cell lineages under feedback control.