Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | January 3, 2008

2. Types of Stem Cells

(2 Minute Read)

There are two types of stem cells — embryonic and adult.

Embryonic stem cells come from embryos (fertilized human eggs) that are about 5 days old — still a ball of cells but fully human with its own distinct DNA and everything necessary to grow into an adult. The embryo’s stem cells are the cells which will develop into all the specialized cells of the baby. This consists of about 30 cells in the middle of the ball of cells. Extracting these stem cells destroys the embryo.

Embryonic stem cells are totipotent, meaning they can develop into all types of human cells.

Adult stem cells are stem cells found in post-birth tissues in babies, children, and adults. They do not have the full specialization potential of embryonic ones, but they can regenerate tissues.

Adult stem cells are multipotent, meaning that a particular adult stem cell can develop into multiple types of human cells, but not necessarily all types — although this has not been definitely settled.

Sources of Stem Cells

The main source of embryonic stem cells is in vitro fertilization (IVF) in which fertilization of a human egg takes place in a lab outside the human body. Typically many eggs are fertilized at once and less suitable embryos, whether created for a hoped-for pregnancy or for research, are thrown away or placed in frozen storage.

Adult stem cells have been found in bone marrow, blood, skin, intestines, nose, and brain. They have been found in teeth, kidneys, hair follicles, placenta, and umbilical cords. Research on blood stem cells of adult mice has produced liver, muscle, and skin cells. Adult stem cells from bone marrow have produced red and white blood cells, platelets, bone cells, cartilage cells, and fat cells.

Multipotent stem cells from umbilical cord blood can be harvested after birth and stored for later use with no harm to mother or baby. Many believe further research will reveal how to stimulate adult stem cells to develop into various specialized cells.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the second of a series of five blog posts explaining what stem cell research is all about and providing a Biblical perspective on the topic.
Read the prequel:
1. What Are Stem Cells?

Read the sequels:
3. Embryonic vs. Adult Stem Cells
4. What Is Cloning?
5. Stem Cells from Skin

Read the December 2007 Bible-Science newspaper column Christmas Animals.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
“for the defense of the gospel”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:5; Phil 1:16)
Thursday January 3, 2008 A.D.

Did not He who made me in the womb make him, and the same One fashion us in the womb? (Job 31:15)

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