Stem cells

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  • Stem cells
    • Embryonic stem cells can turn into ANY type of cell
      • Differentiation is the process by which a cell changes to become specialised for its job
      • In most animal cells, the ability to differentiate is lost at an early age. But lots of plant cells don't ever lose this ability
      • Some cells are undifferentiated. They can develop into different types of cells. These are called STEM CELLS
      • There are two main types of stem cell:
        • EMBRYONIC STEM CELLS: These are unspecialised cells found in early embryos. They have the potential to turn inot any kind of cell.
        • ADULT STEM CELLS: These are unspecialised cells found in adult animals. They can turn into many cell types(but not all cell types)
    • Stem cells may be able to cure many diseases
      • 1) scientists can extract stem cells from very early human embryos and grow them
      • 2) These stem cells could be used to replace faulty cells in sick people
        • E.g. you could make nerve cells for people paralysed by injuries to the spine
      • 3) more research needs to be done to make it 100% accurate every time
    • Some people are against stem cell research
      • 1) Some people feel that embryos shouldn't be used for experiments since each one is potentially a human
      • 2) Others think that curing patients who are suffering is more important than the rights of an embryo
      • 3) They argue that the embryos used in the research are usually unwanted ones from fertility clinics.
        • If they weren't used for research, they would probably just be destroyed
      • 4) But some people think scientists should be finding other sources of stem cells to use, so that people can be helped without having to use embryos


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