Embryonic stem cells

Embryonic stem cells

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Credit: LAGUNA DESIGN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Embryonic stem cells. Computer artwork showing enlarged stem cells in a petri dish next to a blastocyst, a large ball of cells in the very early stages of embryo development. There is a molecule of DNA at top left. The blastocyst cells are undifferentiated (not yet settled to become a specific type of cell) so they are pluripotent, meaning that they can potentially grow into any type of body tissue or organ, but lack the ability to form a whole human. In the future it may be possible to make new tissues and organs from stem cells, such as a new heart for a patient with a malfunctional one.

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