Like stem cells, progenitor cells have a capacity to differentiate into a specific type of cell. In contrast to stem cells, however, they are already far more specific: they are pushed to differentiate into their "target" cell. The most important difference between stem cells and progenitor cells is that stem cells can replicate indefinitely, whereas progenitor cells can only divide a limited number of times. Controversy about the exact definition remains and the concept is still evolving.
Despite the difficulty of defining progenitors, the term is frequently used in research. Thus, the importance of progenitors cannot be ignored.
The terms "progenitor cell" and "stem cell" are sometimes equated.
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