It took almost 50 years before the potential value of its basic scientific research came to light. "Forty-four years after the discovery of Gurdon in 2006, Yamanaka and his team went beyond the tadpoles, and they demonstrated with a surprisingly simple method that they can transform skin cells of a mouse back into primitive cells, which in turn, they can be directed to different types of mature cells.These experiences have been subsequently repeated with human cells.In theory these primitive cells are "tabula rasa" - like embryonic stem cells -, which can be transformed into any cell of the body To transform a skin cell into a stem cell takes weeks in the laboratory, scientists have succeeded in introducing two to four genes that transform the cell's own genes that are "silenced".

It's a bit like restarting a computer, the change causes the cell to pursue a new selection of genes that transform it from a dermal cell to a stem cell using another gene set. Gurdon, who told of his ambitions to become a scientist who were snubbed as "totally ridiculous" by his school principal, when he was still a teenager. Yet, after his studies, several years later, he obtained the position of Professor of Cell Biology at the University of Cambridge Magdalene College. He is currently at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, founded by himself.

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