Stem Cells- Definition, Properties, Types, Uses, Challenges

By daniellenierenberg

Biology Educational Videos

Last Updated on October 12, 2020 by Sagar Aryal

Stem cells are unique cells present in the body that have the potential to differentiate into various cell types or divide indefinitely to produce other stem cells.

Figure: Stem Cell Renewal and Differentiation. Image Source: Maharaj Institute of Immune Regenerative Medicine.

All the stem cells found throughout all living systems have three important properties. These properties can be visualized in vitro by a process called clonogenic assays, where a single cell is assessed for its ability to differentiate.

The following are some properties of stem cells:

Figure: Techniques for generating embryonic stem cell cultures. Image Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (Nico Heins et al.)

Depending on the source of the stem cells or where they are present, stem cells are divided into various types;

Figure: Human Embryonic Stem Cells Differentiation. Image created with

Figure: Preliminary Evidence of Plasticity Among Nonhuman Adult Stem Cells. Image Source: NIH Stem Cell Information.

Figure: Progress in therapies based on iPSCs. Image Source: Nature Reviews Genetics (R. Grant Rowe & George Q. Daley).

Figure: Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). Image Source: PromoCell GmbH.

Some of the common and well-known examples of stem cell research are:

Stem cell research has been used in various areas because of their properties. Some of the common applications of stem cells research include;

Because of different ethical and other issues related to stem cell research, there are some limitations or challenges of stem cell research. Some of these are:

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Stem Cells- Definition, Properties, Types, Uses, Challenges

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