Genetics

Genes found only in humans influence brain size

A set of three nearly identical genes found only in humans appear to play a critical role in the development of our large brains, according to a study led by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Medical research

Lab-grown stem cells regenerate monkey hearts: study

In a step forward for organ regeneration, stem cells grown from a single monkey's skin cells revitalised the damaged hearts of five sick macaques, scientists reported Monday.

Medical research

A moderate dose of novel form of stress promotes longevity

A newly described form of stress called chromatin architectural defect, or chromatin stress, triggers in cells a response that leads to a longer life. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and the Houston Methodist Research ...

Medical research

Study reveals factors behind embryonic stem cell state

Embryonic stem cells (ESC) have the ability to self-renew, and, being pluripotent have the potential to create almost any cell type in the body. The embryonic stem cell state is established and maintained by multiple regulatory ...

Medical research

Nicotine may harm human embryos at the single-cell level

Nicotine induces widespread adverse effects on human embryonic development at the level of individual cells, researchers report February 28th in the journal Stem Cell Reports. Single-cell RNA sequencing of human embryonic ...

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Embryonic stem cell

Embryonic stem cells (ES cells) are stem cells derived from the inner cell mass of an early stage embryo known as a blastocyst. Human embryos reach the blastocyst stage 4–5 days post fertilization, at which time they consist of 50–150 cells.

Embryonic Stem (ES) cells are pluripotent. This means they are able to differentiate into all derivatives of the three primary germ layers: ectoderm, endoderm, and mesoderm. These include each of the more than 220 cell types in the adult body. Pluripotency distinguishes ES cells from multipotent progenitor cells found in the adult; these only form a limited number of cell types. When given no stimuli for differentiation, (i.e. when grown in vitro), ES cells maintain pluripotency through multiple cell divisions. The presence of pluripotent adult stem cells remains a subject of scientific debate; however, research has demonstrated that pluripotent stem cells can be directly generated from adult fibroblast cultures.

Because of their plasticity and potentially unlimited capacity for self-renewal, ES cell therapies have been proposed for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease. However Diseases treated by these non-embryonic stem cells include a number of blood and immune-system related genetic diseases, cancers, and disorders; juvenile diabetes; Parkinson's; blindness and spinal cord injuries. Besides the ethical concerns of stem cell therapy (see stem cell controversy), there is a technical problem of graft-versus-host disease associated with allogeneic stem cell transplantation. However, these problems associated with histocompatibility may be solved using autologous donor adult stem cells or via therapeutic cloning.

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