Related topics: stem cells

Silencing retroviruses to awaken cell potential

Embryonic stem cells have the potential to differentiate into any type of cell in the human body. Once differentiated though, the newly minted somatic cells live out the rest of their days as that specific cell type and never ...

Breakthrough in sex-chromosome regulation

Researchers at Karolinska Institutet in Sweden have uncovered a chromosome-wide mechanism that keeps the gene expression of sex chromosomes in balance in our cells. The findings shed light on molecular reasons for early miscarriage ...

Disposable parts of plants mutate more quickly

Mutation rates are proposed to be a pragmatic balance struck between the harmful effects of mutations and the costs of suppressing them; this hypothesis predicts that longer-lived body parts and those that contribute to the ...

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Somatic cell

Somatic cells are any cells forming the body of an organism, as opposed to germline cells. In mammals, germline cells (also known as "gametes") are the spermatozoa and ova which fuse during fertilization to produce a cell called a zygote, from which the entire mammalian embryo develops. Every other cell type in the mammalian body—apart from the sperm and ova, the cells from which they are made (gametocytes) and undifferentiated stem cells—is a somatic cell: internal organs, skin, bones, blood, and connective tissue are all made up of somatic cells.

The word "somatic" is derived from the Greek word sōma, meaning "body".

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