Pluripotency, the ability to generate any cell type of the body, is an evanescent attribute of embryonic cells. Transitory pluripotent cells can be captured at different time points during embryogenesis and maintained as embryonic stem cells or epiblast stem cells in culture. Since ontogenesis is a dynamic process in both space and time, it seems counterintuitive that these two temporal states represent the full spectrum of organismal pluripotency. Here we show that by modulating culture parameters, a stem-cell type with unique spatial characteristics and distinct molecular and functional features, designated as region-selective pluripotent stem cells (rsPSCs), can be efficiently obtained from mouse embryos and primate pluripotent stem cells, including humans. The ease of culturing and editing the genome of human rsPSCs offers advantages for regenerative medicine applications. The unique ability of human rsPSCs to generate post-implantation interspecies chimaeric embryos may facilitate our understanding of early human development and evolution.
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