Ruth McKernan & Fiona M Watt

Nature Biotechnology 31, 875–877 (2013)


Human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) are the focus of intense research because of their potential to provide patient-specific cell therapies and to model human disease. Small numbers of control and disease-specific hiPSC lines are publicly available, but they rarely have full data sets that include genomic, epigenomic and detailed patient phenotype data. With the global thrust to generate and exploit hiPSCs, several initiatives are emerging that aim to generate collections of hundreds to thousands of cell lines and to address the associated scientific, technical and financial challenges. In light of these efforts, we consider whether such large collections are worthwhile, highlight some of the potential problems associated with them and suggest some solutions.