Embryonal carcinoma (EC) cells are developmentally pluripotential cells which can be induced to differentiate in cell culture to form a wide variety of cell types. To investigate the lineage relationships between cells of different types, we set out to isolate cell lines with multiple but restricted developmental potentials from differentiating cultures of P19 cells, a line of EC. By selecting for differentiated cells capable of anchorage-independent growth, we isolated cell lines which differentiated in high density cultures to form at least two cell types; myocytes that resembled fetal skeletal muscle cells and loose connective tissue cells that secreted large amounts of type I collagen. These results suggest that skeletal myocytes and connective tissue share a common precursor and that stem cells with limited but multiple developmental potentials can be isolated from differentiating cultures of P19 cells.

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