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Schepers AG, Snippert HJ, Stange DE et al.

University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

 Science 2012;337:730–5.

Editor’s note: Hans Clevers and his colleagues in the Netherlands have conducted pioneering work on defining markers of intestinal stem cells. Their research and that of others has led to a greater understanding of how these cells behave and has opened new windows into using gastrointestinal stem cells therapeutically. It has long been controversial as to whether similar stem cells exist in cancers that serve as the origins of the heterogeneous cell types within tumors. Investigations to date have relied upon transplantation models to study the issue of cancer stem cells, but the development of refined lineage tracing techniques enables more direct examination of the origins of cancer stem cells in tumors in mice in vivo.

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