JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Austin Smith, a researcher into stem cells, the precursor cells from which all specialized human cells develop. It may be possible to implant these cells into the body to repair or replace diseased tissues or organs. All the cells in young embryos are stem cells. Stem cells are also found in children and adults. The blood stem cells of the bone marrow, for example, develop into red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Stem cells can be converted into specialized cells in the laboratory using chemical growth factors. Dr Smith is the director of the Centre for Genome Research at Edinburgh University, Scotland.
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