Here’s a very simply and animated explanation of what stem cells are and what they are capable of doing.
What Are Stem Cells?
Stem Cells When hearing the two words together: ‘stem cells’, most of us would think of cells residing inside the stem of plants. But in reality, stem cells are cells that divide to produce specialized other cells in order to replace the worn out ones and maintain the homeostasis. Think of it like a branch of a tree, on which leaves, fruits, and small branches emerge, stem cells work just as similar.
What Can Stem Cells Do?
Specialized cells are differentiated from its precursor stem cells to maintain the body’s internal environment. Until now, two kinds of stem cells of human sources have been known: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cell has the ability to differentiate into any necessary type of body cells, while adult stem cell has limited differentiation of cells specific only to its tissue origin.
To avoid the ethical issue in research, embryonic stem cell can be recreated by replacing the egg cell’s haploid genome with adult’s diploid genome, as in the case of the cloned sheep, Dolly, or by introducing several iPS genes into an adult skin cell. The most common example a biology student could give of adult stem cell is that of blood cells.
If we are hiking on the top of a snowy mountain, the rising demand for oxygen from our body is met as soon as our kidney responds by secreting a type of hormone into the blood. This particular hormone sends a signal to bone marrow for the differentiation of stem cells into more red blood cells to fulfill our body’s need. Stem cells are also being cultured to create skin that can be grafted on burned bruises.
Another example of cultured stem cell is cultured meat. The meat grown in a lab may be considerably more beneficial to our health and environment than conventional meat. In addition, plants are also possible to be created in labs by providing a specific amount of nutrients and growth factors for the undifferentiated, non-specialized stem cells, to start generating shoots and roots.
*** All content on NationalStemCellTherapy.com is for informational purposes only. All medical questions and concerns should always be consulted with your licensed healthcare provider.