An international team of scientists say they have produced a new class of mouse stem cells called F-class cells. They said their result came after looking at different response outcomes of somatic reprogramming by fully characterizing reprogrammed cells “independent of preconceived definitions” of pluripotent stem cell states.

“We demonstrate that by maintaining elevated reprogramming factor expression levels, mouse embryonic fibroblasts go through unique epigenetic modifications to arrive at a stable, Nanog-positive, alternative pluripotent state,” wrote the investigators in an article (“Divergent reprogramming routes lead to alternative stem-cell states)”in Nature. “In doing so, we prove that the pluripotent spectrum can encompass multiple, unique cell states.”

The scientists believe their novel reprogramming ability can eventual be used to develop artificial cells for applications in regenerative medicine and drug discovery. “The frequency at which F-class cells arise in transposon-based reprogramming, in combination with their advantageous properties, presents the opportunity to study and utilize a novel pluripotent cell type in biology, medical research and future medicine,” they concluded.