For much of the 20th century, the prevailing wisdom was that once cells were fully differentiated, their identities were crystallized eternally–a neuron was a neuron forever, and that was that. Then in 1987, something almost magical happened for the first time: with the help of a single transcription factor, a mature fibroblast was completely remade…

(Part I of II.) Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill had an interesting mission: first, transform scar tissue (like the kind that forms after heart attacks) into ordinary cardiac muscle. Researchers at UNC Chapel Hill Of course, that wasn’t the interesting part. We’ve been able to transform cells of one type into cells of another, completely…

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