Research ArticleCELL BIOLOGY

Ancestry-dependent gene expression correlates with reprogramming to pluripotency and multiple dynamic biological processes

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Science Advances  20 Nov 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 47, eabc3851
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abc3851


Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) can be derived from differentiated cells, enabling the generation of personalized disease models by differentiating patient-derived iPSCs into disease-relevant cell lines. While genetic variability between different iPSC lines affects differentiation potential, how this variability in somatic cells affects pluripotent potential is less understood. We generated and compared transcriptomic data from 72 dermal fibroblast–iPSC pairs with consistent variation in reprogramming efficiency. By considering equal numbers of samples from self-reported African Americans and White Americans, we identified both ancestry-dependent and ancestry-independent transcripts associated with reprogramming efficiency, suggesting that transcriptomic heterogeneity can substantially affect reprogramming. Moreover, reprogramming efficiency–associated genes are involved in diverse dynamic biological processes, including cancer and wound healing, and are predictive of 5-year breast cancer survival in an independent cohort. Candidate genes may provide insight into mechanisms of ancestry-dependent regulation of cell fate transitions and motivate additional studies for improvement of reprogramming.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

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