The Potential Of Stem Cells Essay

844 Words Aug 7th, 2015 4 Pages
Stem cells are cells that retained cellular renewal ability (Avasthi, Ms, & Ms, 2008). These cells can differentiate to a large spectrum of cell types including but not limited to various organ cells and other tissue cells. There are 2 main types of stem cells: embryonic stem cells (embryo) and somatic stem cells (adult). Depending on the cell’s potency, the ability to differentiate to different cells will vary. There are different potency of cells, which include: totipotency, pluripotency and multipotency (Pei, Xu, Zhuang, Tse, & Esteban, 2010).

Figure 1: Developmental potential of stem cells. Totipotent cells are cells that have the potential to produce the whole organism, which, in essence, is the zygote. As the cells develop, the developmental potential decreases as specificity increases (pluripotent-multipotent-unipotent). With cellular reprogramming, developmental potential can be reinstated to revert cells back to totipotency or pluripotency (Image from: Mitalipov & Wolf, 2009).

Totipotency, depicted by its name as total power is the ability to produce and differentiate into any type of cells found in the organism (Figure 1). This type of stem cell has the ability to recreate the whole organism. When an egg is fertilized by a sperm, it creates a totipotent cell (also known as a zygote) (Asch, Simerly, Ord, Ord, & Schatten, 1995). The totipotent cell will develop to different layers of the organism (endoderm, mesoderm, ectoderm). Cell division proceeds and enters…

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