Stem cells are
essentially undifferentiated cells. There
are many kinds of stem cells, some more differentiated than others.
When they divide, their progeny mature and specialize into a specific
type of cell (i.e. heart, blood, liver). These
differentiated cells form an embryo. Stem cells also exist in adults (Adult Stem (AS) cells) and
are used to repair and regenerate damaged organs and tissues throughout life.
However, in adults the repair and regeneration by stem cells is limited
to only certain cell types. In
contrast, embryonic stem (ES) cells are not limited in there potential to
differentiate into every cell type. Embryonic
germ (EG) cells have the same potential as ES cells.
It is the versatility and nonspecifically of these cells that gives them
the potential to have therapeutic applications.
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