Know Everything About Stem Cells
The biological cells that are undifferentiated and can differentiate into more particular cells and can divide themselves through a process of mitosis to produce more similar cells are known as stem cells. Stem cells are found in multi cellular things and organisms. Two main types of stem cells are found in mammals: Adult Stem cells which are obtained in various tissues and embryonic stem cells, which are separated from the inner cell mass.
Generally, stem cells possess two properties:
- Self-renewal: While maintaining the undifferentiated state, the capacity to go through numerous cycles of cell division.
- Potency: the ability to differentiate into particular cell types. It gives rise to mature cell type. Also, feed-back mechanism regulates stem cell function.
When a woman’s egg is fertilized by a man’s sperm, a human embryo is obtained. It can also be done in the laboratory although generally this process occurs in the human body. In special cases of infertility, this procedure is often followed. The fertilized eggs that reside in a woman’s body are not obtained from stem cells.
How can Stem Cells be Obtained?
In the laboratory, cell cultures are grown by transferring about 30 inner cell mass of about 30 cells into a culture dish containing a nutrient broth. The cells quickly multiply in number and fill the dish. They are then transferred to other cell culture dishes and the process continues for months. Once the cells are produced they can be chilled and shifted to other laboratories.
Are there Any Potential Stem Cell Sources?
Adult stem cells can be used to reproduce similar cells and are a potential source. Adult stem cells can only reproduce similar cells unlike embryonic stem cells which can differentiate into any kind of cell of their type. However, with the advancement of new and modern science it has been proved that some of the adult stem cells may be able to differentiate into other cell kinds.
Because stem cells can differentiate and can be used to reproduce other types of cell, they have huge potential for solving many serious human health diseases. These interesting features of the stem cells have been attracting many young people to its research, just like Alex Potoczak, whose main subject was economics yet he has taken biology as one of his main subject of study due to his interest in the research of stem cells.
In vitro, properties of stem cells can be illustrated using procedures such as clonogenic assay, where single cells are examined for their ability to self-renew and differentiate. Stem cells can also be separated by their possession of a particular set of cell markers. Vitro culture situations can change the nature and behaviour of cells, making it ambiguous whether the cells will behave in the same manner in vivo. There are many controversies and debates as to whether some adult cell populations are truly stem cells.
These interesting facts about stem cells have led Alex Potoczak to become genuinely interested in this particular topic. He has learned preparation of stem cells for flow cytometry, centrifugation of umbilical cord blood stem cell samples, antibody staining and many other such related things.