Q2. What are stem cells and what research is being done on them?

  • Stem cells are special cells found in very early stage embryos (i.e., 5 days after fertilization of an egg) and in some types of adult tissue.

  • Stem cells are "undifferentiated" cells (sometimes referred to as "pluripotent"), which means:

    • they have not yet developed into a particular type of cell that performs a specialized function (e.g., skin, heart, or nerve cells); and
    • they can, under circumstances, develop into many different types of cells.
  • Stem cell research promises to allow these undifferentiated stem cells to be stimulated to develop into various types of specialized cells or tissue.

  • The molecular processes discovered in working with stem cells derived from SCNT will be extremely valuable in finding ways to increase the utility and versatility of adult stem cells.

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