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Subspecialties Basic & Translational Research

Mature iPSCs and Mitochondrial Mutations

In 2006, the amazing discovery of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) (1) opened the floodgates to personalized regenerative medicine. Ophthalmology certainly joined the ensuing tidal wave of research, and the ability to produce donor-matched ocular cells – not to mention the option of reprogramming iPSCs derived from these cells – have peppered publications in the years since, with the research showing no signs of slowing down (2).

But every rose has its thorn, as recent work from Shoukhrat Mitalipov’s team demonstrates (3). They have shown that as people age, they accumulate somatic mutations in their mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA), which can then be carried into iPSC lines. In a panel of subjects aged between 24 and 72 years, iPSCs generated from younger donors had significantly fewer mtDNA mutations compared with those generated from elderly donors.

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