Stem cell biology and the oxygen environment
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Traditional cell cultivation in labs is conducted in an environment of 20% O2 (basically room air), though the mean oxygen tension at the tissue level in adults is about 3%. Our work suggests that stem cell growth, death, and differentiation are all dramatically changed by the concentration of oxygen in the local environment. Using differential oxygen conditions, a variety of stem cells can be induced to differentiate down specified lineages. By segregating stem cells prospectively into those likely to take one daughter fate over another, differential oxygen culturing can be used to identify regulatory mechanisms that promote or exclude differentiation options.