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Unformatted text preview: may provide the best hope for
eventual treatment of diseases such as
Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and
spinal cord injuries. Embryonic Stem Cells
Embryonic stem cells were first cultured from mouse embryos in 1981 (Figure 17.23). They can be propagated indefinitely in culture and, if reintroduced into early embryos, are able to give rise to cells in all tissues of the
mouse. Thus they retain the capacity to develop into all of the different
types of cells in adult tissues and organs (referred to as pluripotency). In
addition, they can be induced to differentiate into a variety of different
types of cells in culture.
As discussed in Chapter 4, mouse embryonic stem cells have been an
important experimental tool in cell biology because they can be used to
introduce altered genes into mice (see Figure 4.36). Moreover, they provide
an outstanding model system for studying the molecular and cellular
events associated with embryonic cell differentiation, so embryonic stem
cells have long been of considerable interest to cell and developmental biologists. Interest in these cells reached a new peak of intensity, however, in
1998 when two groups of researchers reported the isolation of stem cells (A)...
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