© 2014 AlphaMed Press.
Genomic instability is recognized as one of the most important hurdles in the expanding field of stem cell-based therapies. In the recent years, an accumulating body of evidence has shown that human stem cells undergo a diverse program of biological changes upon ex vivo cultivation that include numerical and structural chromosomal abnormalities, point mutations, variation of telomere length, and epigenetic instability. As the field moves forward, the growing awareness of the risk factors associated with human genome plasticity strongly advocates for the use of extensive genetic screening as part of a quality control platform to attest to the safety of stem cell-based products. Here we present a timely and comprehensive review that addresses the current status and emerging trends of the field, ultimately underscoring the need to implement new regulatory standards able to streamline the route to therapeutic applications.