Monday, January 10, 2011

Stem Cell Research

Important Terms:

Cell-based therapies: stems cells are induced to differentiate into a specific cell type.
Differentiation: where a unspecialized cell acquires the specialized features of a specific cell.
Embryonic stem cell line: embryonic stem cells that allow proliferation without differentiation for months to years.
Proliferation: the expansion of the number of cells from two identical daughter cells.
Plasticity: ability to be different.
Pluripotent: Having the ability to give rise to all the various cells types of the body.

Answer the following questions:

1. What are the unique properties of all stem cells?  Explain in your own words what each property means.
Stem cells are able to proliferate; splitting and reuniting, can become any cell, and can differentiate; can become a specific type of cell.

2. What are the two main kinds of stem cells used by researchers?  What are the major differences between the two types in terms of their sources and usefulness to researchers?  Give examples for each type of stem cell.
The two main kinds of stem cells used by researchers are embryonic cells and adult stem cells.

3. List some of the diseases that scientists think may be treated using stem cell research and suggest how stem cells might be used to treat each disease.
Scientists think that stem cells may be used to cure diseases such as cancer and birth defects.

4. What are the necessary characteristics that laboratory-manipulated stem cells will need to have in order to be successfully used in cell-based therapies?
The stem cells need to be unspecialized. 

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