Cell reprogramming, in which a differentiated cell is made to switch its fate, is an emerging field with revolutionary prospects in biotechnology and medicine. The recent discovery of induced pluripotency by means of in vitro reprogramming has made way for unprecedented approaches for regenerative medicine, understanding human disease and drug discovery. Moreover, recent studies on regeneration and repair by direct lineage reprogramming in vivo offer an attractive novel alternative to cell therapy. Although we continue to push the limits of current knowledge in the field of cell reprogramming, the mechanistic elements that underlie these processes remain largely elusive. This article reviews landmark developments in cell reprogramming, current knowledge, and technological developments now on the horizon with significant promise for biomedical applications.
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