Terms in this set (9)
In multicellular organisms all cells contain the same DNA. However, depending on the cell's environment, it will receive chemical signals to become a certain type of cell.
Specific gene functions correlate to, or dictate shapes, functions and adaptations.
Definition: Specific genes in a cell's DNA will be expressed while others are not, turning the cell into a specific type.
Embryonic Stem Cells
After the fertilisation of a sperm and egg, the zygote undergoes rapid cell division. The cells of the embryo are unspecialised and will eventually organise themselves into germ layers which will then differentiate into tissues from which organs will arise. These cells are totipotent.
They have the ability to become any and all human cells.
Adult Stem Cells
Adult Stem Cells are undifferentiated cells found among the differentiated cells in a tissue or organ.
Their primary role is to maintain and repair the tissue from which they come. They are multipotent.
The have the ability to renew themselves and differentiate into various cell types of a SPECIFIC tissue or organ, but not into cells of a different tissue.
Potential for Therapies
Since stem cells retain the capacity to divide and differentiate along different pathways, they can be used to treat diseases that arise from the bodies inability to regenerate damaged cells and tissue. Such diseases include macular degeneration, paralysis, cancer, diabetes and heart disease.
Side Effects of Stem Cell Therapy
Tumours: Stem cells, particularly embryonic stem cells have the ability to form into teratomas which is a mass of cells consisting of various cell types.
Rejection: Embryonic stem cells are foreign cells so there is a risk of immune rejection is the immune system recognises them as a foreign bodies.
Harvesting embryonic stem cells destroys the embryo. Some consider it the destruction of human life and also stem cell therapy is really expensive.
Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells
They are adult stem cells that have been reprogrammed to become almost any cell type (except the placenta). They are able to differentiate into more cells than adult stem cells, but they can be generated from from the patients own cells so that there is no issue of rejection.
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