Stem Cells Essay

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Stem Cell Basics About this document This primer on stem cells is intended for anyone who wishes to learn more about the biological properties of stem cells, the important questions about stem cells that are the focus of scientific research, and the potential use of stem cells in research and in treating disease. The primer includes information about stem cells derived from embryonic and non-embryonic tissues. Much of the information included here is about stem cells derived from human tissues, but some studies of animal-derived stem cells are also described. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) developed this primer to help readers understand the answers to questions such as: f f f f What are stem cells? What are the different types of stem cells, and where do they come from? What is the potential for new medical treatments using stem cells? What research is needed to make such treatments a reality? This document provides basic information about stem cells. More detailed discussion is available from the NIH stem cell reports at http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/. Quick answers to specific common queries can be found on the Frequently Asked Questions page. Throughout “Stem Cell Basics,” many technical terms appear in bold, underlined maroon type. Click the term to see its definition in the Glossary at the end of the primer. I. Introduction: What are stem cells, and why are they important? Stem cells have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. In addition, in many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle

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