There is a huge unmet clinical need to treat damaged articular cartilage such as that caused by osteoarthritis (OA) with an estimated 8.75 million people in the UK having sought treatment for OA (ARUK 2013). Embryonic stem cells (ESCs) offer a promising alternative therapeutic approach, potentially providing an unlimited source of chondrocytes capable of regenerating the damaged cartilage however this is limited by the efficiency of the chondrogenic differentiation protocol. An improved understanding of the posttranscriptional regulation of chondrogenesis by microRNAs (miRNAs) may enable us to improve hESC chondrogenesis. Also the recent discovery that miRNAs are selectively packaged into exosomes which can then be transferred to and be functionally active within neighbouring cells suggests they may have a role in cell-cell communication. This project investigated the regulation of miRNA expression in relation to the transcriptome during hESCs-directed chondrogenesis and the possible role for exosomes during differentiation and in stem cell maintenance of hESCs.Small RNA-seq and whole transcriptome sequencing was performed on distinct stages of hESC-directed chondrogenesis using the Directed Differentiation Protocol (DDP) developed in our lab. Also small RNA-seq was performed on exosomes isolated from hESCs and chondroprogenitors along with the donor cells that the exosomes originated from. This revealed significant changes in the expression of several miRNAs during hESC-directed chondrogenesis including: upregulation of miRNAs transcribed from the four Hox complexes, known cartilage associated miRNAs and the downregulation of pluripotency associated miRNAs. Overall miRome and transcriptome analysis revealed the two hESC lines exhibited slightly different miRome and transcriptome profiles during chondrogenesis, with Man7 displaying larger changes in miRNA and mRNA expression as it progressed through the DDP suggesting it may be more predisposed to undergo chondrogenesis.Integration of miRomes and transcriptomes generated during hESC-directed chondrogenesis identified four key functionally related clusters of co-expressed miRNAs and protein coding genes: pluripotency associated cluster, primitive streak cluster, limb development cluster and an extracellular matrix cluster. Further investigation of these gene/miRNA clusters allowed the identification of several potential novel regulators of hESC-directed chondrogenesis.In accordance with the reported literature the exosomal miRNAs from hESCs and hESC-chondroprogenitors were enriched with a guanine rich motif. Notably, several of these were enriched with targets associated with embryonic skeletal system development suggesting they may play a role in regulating differentiation. Preliminary functional experiments examining pluripotency-associated exosomes suggests they may have a role in regulating hESC stem cell maintenance. However the molecular mechanism by which this is achieved has not been investigated.This research identified main miRome and transcriptome changes during hESC-directed chondrogenesis leading to the identification of several potential novel regulators of chondrogenesis and pluripotency which can be further investigated. This project has also highlighted the potential of exosomal miRNAs to regulate hESC stem cell maintenance and differentiation.