Perspectives of pluripotent stem cells in livestock
The recent progress in derivation of pluripotent stem cells (PSCs) from farm animals opens new approaches not only for reproduction, genetic engineering, treatment and conservation of these species, but also for screening novel drugs for their efficacy and toxicity, and modelling of human diseases. Initial attempts to derive PSCs from the inner cell mass of blastocyst stages in farm animals were largely unsuccessful as either the cells survived for only a few passages, or lost their cellular potency; indicating that the protocols which allowed the derivation of murine or human embryonic stem (ES) cells were not sufficient to support the maintenance of ES cells from farm animals. This scenario changed by the innovation of induced pluripotency and by the development of the 3 inhibitor culture conditions to support naïve pluripotency in ES cells from livestock species. However, the long-term culture of livestock PSCs while maintaining the full pluripotency is still challenging, and requires further refinements. Here, we review the current achievements in the derivation of PSCs from farm animals, and discuss the potential application areas.