They described primitive cells found in a part of the placenta called the amnion, which they coaxed into forming a variety of cell types and which look very similar to sought-after embryonic stem cells....
It is not yet certain that the cells they found are true stem cells, said Stephen Strom, who worked on the study. But they carry two important genes, called Oct 4 and nanog, which so far have only been seen on embryonic stem cells.
"We were just blown away when we found those two genes expressed in those cells," Strom said in a telephone interview.
"The presence of these two genes suggests these cells are pluripotent, which means they should be able to form any cell type in the body."