Dynamic variations in genetic integrity accompany changes in cell fate

I. Chung Chen, Christine Hernandez, Xueping Xu, Austin Cooney, Yufeng Wang, John R. McCarrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Pluripotent stem cells hold the potential to form the basis of novel approaches to treatment of disease in vivo as well as to facilitate the generation of models for human disease, providing powerful avenues to discovery of novel diagnostic biomarkers and/or innovative drug regimens in vitro. However, this will require extensive maintenance, expansion, and manipulation of these cells in culture, which raises a concern regarding the extent to which genetic integrity will be preserved throughout these manipulations. We used a mutation reporter (lacI) transgene approach to conduct direct comparisons of mutation frequencies in cell populations that shared a common origin and genetic identity, but were induced to undergo transitions in cell fate between pluripotent and differentiated states, or vice versa. We confirm that pluripotent cells normally maintain enhanced genetic integrity relative to that in differentiated cells, and we extend this finding to show that dynamic transformations in the relative stringency at which genetic integrity is maintained are associated with transitions between pluripotent and differentiated cellular states. These results provide insight into basic biological distinctions between pluripotent and differentiated cell types that impact genetic integrity in a manner that is directly relevant to the potential clinical use of these cell types.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1698-1708
Number of pages11
JournalStem Cells and Development
Issue number22
StatePublished - Nov 15 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell fate transitions
  • DNA repair
  • Mutations
  • Stem cells

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hematology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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