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Stem Cells

Stem Cells

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Stem Cells

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can replicate and differentiate into various types of cells. They are found in early human embryos and adult humans, but the stem cells in adults are limited to certain areas, such as bone marrow. Adult stem cells are multipotent, meaning they can differentiate into a limited number of cell types, such as blood cells. On the other hand, embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, meaning they can differentiate into any type of cell in the body. In a laboratory, embryonic and adult stem cells can be cultivated and induced to develop into specialized cells for use in therapy or research.

How are stem cells used in medicine?

Adult stem cells found in bone marrow are currently used to treat some blood disorders. Bone marrow has stem cells that can develop into fresh blood cells to replace damaged ones in the body.

In the future, embryonic stem cells could be used to replace defective cells with healthy ones. These undifferentiated cells can develop into various types of cells, such as nerve or insulin-producing cells. In patients with spinal cord injuries who are paralyzed, nerve cells could repair damaged spinal tissue. In diabetic patients, insulin-producing cells could repair damaged cells. To prevent rejection by the patient's body, an embryo could be genetically engineered through a process called therapeutic cloning. The stem cells created from it would have the patient's genes. However, using stem cells in medicine has risks. Laboratory-grown stem cells can pick up viruses that could harm patients. Using embryonic stem cells raises ethical questions.

Issues involved in stem cell research

Embryonic stem cell research is a topic of controversy. Some people oppose it because they believe that using human embryos for research is unethical. Others argue that saving the lives of sick patients should come first. The embryos used for research are usually unwanted ones from reproductive clinics that would otherwise be destroyed. However, pro-embryo rights activists want this practice banned as well. They suggest that scientists should focus on finding other sources of stem cells. One possible alternative is reprogramming adult cells to create stem cells, but more research is needed to ensure its safety. While stem cell research is illegal in some countries, it is legal in the UK under certain conditions.

Stem cells in plants

The meristems are where stem cells are located in plants. Cells in the meristem tissues can differentiate into any form of plant cell during the course of the plant's whole existence. These stem cells can be utilized to swiftly and cheaply create clones (exact replicas) of whole plants.

This is beneficial for:

·      the production of identical plants with desired traits for farmers.

·      increasing the number of uncommon plant species.

 

Stem Cells

What is a stem cell?

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells. They can reproduce many more undifferentiated cells by dividing.

What are the two categories of stem cells?

1.      Adult stem cells

2.      Embryonic stem cells

Where are stem cells found in plants?

Meristems

What is an ethical issue with stem cells in research?

Some people oppose it because they believe that since each human embryo has the potential to become a human life, they shouldn't be used in experiments.

Are adult stem cells or embryonic stem cells alreadyused to treat disease?

Adult stem cells

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