Everything that glitters isn't gold: a critical review of postnatal neural precursor analyses

Cell Stem Cell. 2007 Dec 13;1(6):612-27. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2007.11.008.


Adult neurogenesis research has made enormous strides in the last decade but has been complicated by several failures to replicate promising findings. Prevalent use of highly sensitive methods with inherent sources of error has led to extraordinary conclusions without adequate crossvalidation. Perhaps the biggest culprit is the reliance on molecules involved in DNA synthesis and genetic markers to indicate neuronal neogenesis. In this Protocol Review, we present an overview of common methodological issues in the field and suggest alternative approaches, including viral vectors, siRNA, and inducible transgenic/knockout mice. A multipronged approach will enhance the overall rigor of research on stem cell biology and related fields by allowing increased replication of findings between groups and across systems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bystander Effect
  • Humans
  • Nerve Regeneration* / genetics
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Staining and Labeling / methods
  • Stem Cells / cytology*