The consequences of mating at the molecular level

While it is known that stem cells have the ability to develop into all tissues in a precisely regulated process, the way environmental cues affect stem cell behavior has remained poorly understood. In a new study, researchers ...

Mystery solved: How do tips of plants stay virus-free?

Plants are able to keep growing indefinitely because they have tissues made of meristems—plant stem cells—which have the unique ability to transform themselves into the various specialized cells that make up the plant, ...

Stem cell sheets harvested in just two days

Stem cells are cell factories that constantly divide themselves to create new cells. Implanting stem cells in damaged organs can regenerate new tissues. Cell sheet engineering, which allows stem cells to be transplanted into ...

Intestinal regeneration: Lessons from organoid research

The last decade has seen a boom in the field of organoids, miniature organs grown from stem cells in vitro. These systems recapitulate the cell type composition and numerous functions of parent organs—such as brain, kidney, ...

Nanoparticles can turn off genes in bone marrow cells

Using specialized nanoparticles, MIT engineers have developed a way to turn off specific genes in cells of the bone marrow, which play an important role in producing blood cells. These particles could be tailored to help ...

Terahertz zaps alter gene activity in stem cells

Terahertz light pulses change gene expression in stem cells, report researchers from Kyoto University's Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (iCeMS) and Tokai University in Japan in the journal Optics Letters. ...

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Stem cell

Stem cells are cells found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms. They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiating into a diverse range of specialized cell types. Research in the stem cell field grew out of findings by Canadian scientists Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till in the 1960s. The two broad types of mammalian stem cells are: embryonic stem cells that are isolated from the inner cell mass of blastocysts, and adult stem cells that are found in adult tissues. In a developing embryo, stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin or intestinal tissues.

Stem cells can now be grown and transformed into specialized cells with characteristics consistent with cells of various tissues such as muscles or nerves through cell culture. Highly plastic adult stem cells from a variety of sources, including umbilical cord blood and bone marrow, are routinely used in medical therapies. Embryonic cell lines and autologous embryonic stem cells generated through therapeutic cloning have also been proposed as promising candidates for future therapies.

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