There are three main types of stem cell:
– embryonic stem cells
– adult stem cells
– induced pluripotent stem cells
Embryonic stem cells
– Embryonic stem cells supply new cells for an embryo? as it grows and develops into a baby.
– These stem cells are said to be pluripotent, which means they can change into any cell in the body.
Adult stem cells
– Adult stem cells supply new cells as an organism grows and to replace cells that get damaged.
– Adult stem cells are said to be multipotent, which means they can only change into some cells in the body, not any cell, for example:
– Blood (or ‘haematopoietic’) stem cells can only replace the various types of cells in the blood.
– Skin (or ‘epithelial’) stem cells provide the different types of cells that make up our skin and hair.
Induced pluripotent stem cells
– Induced pluripotent stem cells, or ‘iPS cells’, are stem cells that scientists make in the laboratory.
– ‘Induced’ means that they are made in the lab by taking normal adult cells, like skin or blood cells, and reprogramming them to become stem cells.
– Just like embryonic stem cells, they are pluripotent so they can develop into any cell type.