NANOG: Kinda like egg nog, except that "nanog" is the name genetic researchers are giving the "master gene" that they've discovered which they believe is responsible for giving embryonic stem cells their pluripotency. That is, stem cells can mature into any type of cell, whereas most human cells have their nature fixed within a few days of creation.
The article says that:
In one crucial experiment, Smith's team inserted copies of the human nanog gene into mouse embryonic stem cells, and subjected those cells to laboratory conditions that normally force such cells to mature and become one kind of tissue. The human nanog gene prevented that process.If this ability can be turned on and off at will at different locations throughout the body it will be possible to heal many currently untreatable conditions: nerve damage, lost or damaged organs, severe burns, brain diseases like Alzheimer's, nerve diseases like Parkinson's and muscular dystrophy, cancer, heart disease... you name it.
That suggests that if scientists were to reawaken the dormant nanog gene in adult human cells -- something the Japanese group and others would like to try soon -- they might "reprogram" the gene activity patterns in those adult cells and turn them into cells that, for all practical purposes, are embryonic stem cells.
In theory, it would also be possible to reverse/eliminate aging and extend fertility indefinitely.