Stem cells are infinitely valuable when considering their
potential applications in the medical profession. While
current legislative restrictions have halted the development of
new ?stem cell lines? to any agency or company that receives
any form of governmental grants, there is no question that the
medical profession is standing at the brink of a new era of
technological advancements in healthcare and research.
Stem cells are valuable due to the fact that they are
?non-designated,? (have no specifically assigned task in the
body, i.e. liver cells, brain cells, skin cells, etc.) and they
also have the ability to divide indefinitely. Thus,
theoretically stem cells could replace any damaged or lost
specifically designated cells within the body. However, this
is just a brief mention of the potential applications of stem
cell research, which will be discussed at a later point in this
Stem cells are categorized into three genres based upon
their potential developmental capability, total to limited.
(NIH PRIMER http://www.nih.gov/news/stemcell/primer.htm)
Totipotent stem cells are stem cells whose potential is
total, thus totipotent. Totipotent stem cells are derived from
embryonic tissue and fertilized ovarian eggs.
This type of stem cell is of particular importance to
researchers due to its ability to ?specialize into
extraembryonic membranes and tissues, the embryo, and all
postembryonic tissues and organs? (NIH Primer). However these
type of cells are extremely difficult to come by and only occur
in certain places at certain developmental times.
Pluripotent stem cells are stem cells in which their
potential is large but not total as in Totipotent stem cells.
These cells lead to the development of many cells, but cannot
derive certain types of fetal cells necessary for the
development of a fetus as do... [continues]
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