Stem Cells

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Stem Cells


  • In a multicellular organ, most cells are specialised
  • However some cells remain unspecialised, these are called stem cells
  • Stem cells are undifferentiatied, can keep dividing and can give rise to other cell types.


  • Soon after fertilisation a zygote divides repeatedly
  • These early cells are ALL stem cells, embryonic stem cells
  • Theses stem cells can develop into any of the 216 cell types, they are totipotent. 
  • As the embryo develops many stem cells remain, these are called pluriptent. They are able to divide into any type of cell but not the cells of the placenta.
  • In adults, some cells retain this ability. They can give rise to a limited number of body tissues, multipotent stem cells.


  • Main source of embryonic stem cells are from unused embryos from IVF
  • Adult stem cells are found in the bone marrow
  • Therapeutic cloning takes the nucleus from an ovum and


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