Biology - Stem Cells

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  • Stem Cells
    • Undifferentiated cell capable of replicating to produce more cells of same type & also can differentiate into specialised cell
      • Differentiation = cell changes to become specialized for its job
    • Embryonic stem cells
      • found in early embryos
      • Specialise into any type of cell
      • As they develop, potential to specialise limits
    • Adult stem cells
      • Only found in specialised tissues that replicate same cells for growth and repair
      • White & Red blood cells
      • Found in bone marrow
      • Platelets
      • Limited to number of cells it can produce (only produce cells for growth/repair)
    • Meristems
      • Can differentiate into any type of plant cell
        • Can do this throughout plant life (unlike embryonic stem cells)
      • Found where growth occurs (shoots/roots)
    • Uses
      • Produces plant clones quickly & cheaply
        • Clone rare plants & protect from extinction
        • Clone crop plants with special features (disease resist.) to produce lots identical plants for farmers
      • Medicine
        • Embryonic & adult cells cloned & differentiated into specialised cells
          • Potential develop treatment for conditions like diabetes & paralysis by replacing faulty cells
            • Risks
              • Not same genes - risks of rejection
                • Solution -->
                  • Therapeutic cloning (produce embryo with same genes as patient)
          • Risks: Rejection. Transfer viral infection. Religious & ethical rejections

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