All of the cells in an individual's body have a specific purpose once they have matured and differentiated into different types of tissues in different locations. Stem cells serve as the blank template for cells, as they are undifferentiated until they are needed for a specific tissue in the body. Stem cells can divide into other stem cells as well as the ability to become differentiated cells like brain, blood, and muscle cells. In tissues with regeneration benefits, stem cells are imperative because they replace dead cells. Stem cells are present in the brain, blood vessels, skin, gut, teeth, liver, bone marrow, skeletal muscle, teeth, liver, and other organs. Stem cells are also present within the fluid that surrounds a fetus in an amniotic sac. Stem cells are beneficial to help researchers understand more about how an organism forms from one cell and how defective cells are replaced by healthy cells in animals and humans.
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Types Of Stem Cells
There are two primary classifications for stem cells: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are taken from unused embryos resulting from in vitro fertilization that have been donated to science. Embryonic stem cells can differentiate into any type of cell, or are considered pluripotent. Adult stem cells are further categorized into stem cells found in an individual's fully developed tissues and induced pluripotent stem cells. Adult stem cells found in the brain, bone marrow, and skin tissues that are fully developed are not abundant in the body. These stem cells tend to only differentiate into cells that are part of the same type of tissues that make up the organ they came from. Induced pluripotent stem cells are a form of adult stem cells that have been sent to a laboratory environment where they have been changed, altered, or manipulated to take on the same properties and characteristics of embryonic stem cells. Pluripotent adult stem cells have been reprogrammed to function the same way as embryonic stem cells.
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