The placentaa Frisbee-size hunk of tissue that chaperones a fetus in the uterus only to be tossed aside in the delivery roomhas mysterious beginnings. The organ emerges from a set ofcells that develop alongside the embryo and have been difficult to grow in the lab. Now, researchers have devised a way to derive and observe early precursors of placental cells in a dish.They have found a method of "reprogramming" adult cells, reverting them to a primitive state, that can prompt them to become trophoblast stem cells, which give rise to placental cells. Themethod promises a new window on how defects in placental development may lead to infertility, miscarriage, and preeclampsia.

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Stem cell studies probe origins of the placenta - Science

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