British scientists have discovered a new type of stem cell in mice that's much closer to human embryonic stem cells, making them invaluable in the search for cures for diseases like Parkinson's and diabetes. Two independent teams from Oxford and Cambridge today revealed the "missing link" cells, which can speed research without the use of discarded human embryos.
The new stem cells were culled from the innermost cell layer, called the epiblast, of a week-old rodent embryo. The discovery may also help researchers isolate usable embryonic stem cells from pigs and sheep, which offer much better models of several human diseases, the Telegraph reports. (Read more epiblast stories.)