What Are Stem Cells?
Stem cells differ from normal cells in several key ways. First of all, stem cells can divide themselves and have a relatively long shelf life as far as human cells are concerned. Stem cells are also cells that are not assigned a certain cell type or category, but which can become assigned and turn into a specialized cell type. A human skin cell, for example, is only capable of being a human skin cell and cannot change to become another type of cell. A human stem cell, on the other hand, can become a skin cell, a bone cell, or any other kind of human cell.
Where Are Stem Cells Found?
There are three basic types of stem cells. Fetal stem cells are found in human beings during the fetal stage of development and can be harvested from aborted fetuses or from the umbilical cord of a newly delivered baby. Embryonic stem cells are found in embryos and are generally harvested from frozen embryos that are designated to be incinerated as medical waste. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, are found in many different tissues within the human body and can be harvested, to a limited extent, without harming the individual or causing excessive pain.
What is the Debate Regarding Stem Cells?
Fetal stem cells and embryonic stem cells are both relatively controversial in society because of religious and political convictions. The fact that both types are harvested, or can be, from aborted fetuses or embryos has many convinced that the entire process is wrong. At the same time, however, the scientific community wishes to experiment with such stem cells on a widespread basis, because it is believed that they may help to cure many different diseases. Adult stem cells, on the other hand, have both sides of the issue excited because they can be harvested from adult human beings without harming the person. It remains to be seen, however, whether adult stem cells will perform as well as fetal stem cells and embryonic stem cells in research.
- Photo Credit Public Domain
What Kind of Food Has Protein?
Proteins are found both in the human body and in the foods we eat. The proteins that are in the human body...
How Do Bones Produce Blood Cells?
Red blood cells, white blood cells and plasma are all formed inside of bones in the red bone marrow. Stem cells within...
What Are Epithelial Cells in Urinalysis?
Epithelial cells are the individual cells that make up the tissue known as epithelium. Epithelium is the tissue that covers the body...
What Part of the Human Body Contains Stem Cells?
Stem cells are unlike other cells in the body because they can replenish other cells as they deteriorate. They replicate frequently and...
How to Remove an Outdoor Faucet Stem
Outdoor faucets are handy for doing work such as gardening and washing your car. The handle on these faucets is connected to...
Difference in White Matter & Gray Matter
Scientists and doctors find two major types of tissue when they examine samples from the brain and the spinal cord--white matter and...