Evaluating totipotency using criteria of increasing stringency

Eszter Posfai, John Paul Schell, Adrian Janiszewski, Isidora Rovic, Alexander Murray, Brian Bradshaw, Tatsuya Yamakawa, Tine Pardon, Mouna El Bakkali, Irene Talon, Natalie De Geest, Pankaj Kumar, San Kit To, Sophie Petropoulos, Andrea Jurisicova, Vincent Pasque, Fredrik Lanner, Janet Rossant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Totipotency is the ability of a single cell to give rise to all of the differentiated cell types that build the conceptus, yet how to capture this property in vitro remains incompletely understood. Defining totipotency relies on a variety of assays of variable stringency. Here, we describe criteria to define totipotency. We explain how distinct criteria of increasing stringency can be used to judge totipotency by evaluating candidate totipotent cell types in mice, including early blastomeres and expanded or extended pluripotent stem cells. Our data challenge the notion that expanded or extended pluripotent states harbour increased totipotent potential relative to conventional embryonic stem cells under in vitro and in vivo conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-60
Number of pages12
JournalNature cell biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cell Biology


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