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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Discuss how the generalized cells of a developing embryo or the stem cells of an adult organism become differentiated into specialized cells
  • Distinguish between the categories of stem cells

How does a complex organism such as a human develop from a single cell—a fertilized egg—into the vast array of cell types such as nerve cells, muscle cells, and epithelial cells that characterize the adult? Throughout development and adulthood, the process of cellular differentiation leads cells to assume their final morphology and physiology. Differentiation is the process by which unspecialized cells become specialized to carry out distinct functions.

Stem cells

A stem cell    is an unspecialized cell that can divide without limit as needed and can, under specific conditions, differentiate into specialized cells. Stem cells are divided into several categories according to their potential to differentiate.

The first embryonic cells that arise from the division of the zygote are the ultimate stem cells; these stems cells are described as totipotent    because they have the potential to differentiate into any of the cells needed to enable an organism to grow and develop.

The embryonic cells that develop from totipotent stem cells and are precursors to the fundamental tissue layers of the embryo are classified as pluripotent. A pluripotent    stem cell is one that has the potential to differentiate into any type of human tissue but cannot support the full development of an organism. These cells then become slightly more specialized, and are referred to as multipotent cells.

A multipotent    stem cell has the potential to differentiate into different types of cells within a given cell lineage or small number of lineages, such as a red blood cell or white blood cell.

Finally, multipotent cells can become further specialized oligopotent cells. An oligopotent    stem cell is limited to becoming one of a few different cell types. In contrast, a unipotent    cell is fully specialized and can only reproduce to generate more of its own specific cell type.

Stem cells are unique in that they can also continually divide and regenerate new stem cells instead of further specializing. There are different stem cells present at different stages of a human’s life. They include the embryonic stem cells of the embryo, fetal stem cells of the fetus, and adult stem cells in the adult. One type of adult stem cell is the epithelial stem cell, which gives rise to the keratinocytes in the multiple layers of epithelial cells in the epidermis of skin. Adult bone marrow has three distinct types of stem cells: hematopoietic stem cells, which give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets ( [link] ); endothelial stem cells, which give rise to the endothelial cell types that line blood and lymph vessels; and mesenchymal stem cells, which give rise to the different types of muscle cells.


This flowchart shows the differentiation of a hemocytoblast, a stem cell, into the different types of cells found in blood.
The process of hematopoiesis involves the differentiation of multipotent cells into blood and immune cells. The multipotent hematopoietic stem cells give rise to many different cell types, including the cells of the immune system and red blood cells.

Questions & Answers

what is the difference between plasma and serum
Gloria Reply
Plasma contains fibrinogen while serum doesn't
plasma ----- fibrinogen = serum
In what time stomach empty it's content in to doudemun? what is chyme?
Sneha Reply
write the chemical and mechanical digestion which occurs in stomach?
Does absorption take place in stomach? what are absorption in the stomach by which cell?
Chemical digestion---Mixtures of the food with the gastric acid Mechanical digestion--- churning of the food in the stomach making it become more involved into chyme
absorption takes place in the small intestine because of the presence of the villi
name the muscles supplied redina nerve
Appu Reply
mechanism of hormone releasing by gland
said Reply
why is muscle tissue not considered to be a type of connective tissue?
Ezel Reply
A Skeletal muscles consist of numerous muscles cells called Muscle Fibers . Three layers of connective tissues surrounded these fibers to make the muscles tissues
that's wny connective tissues is not considered as muscles fibers
there are 4 types of tissues : epithelial, connective tissue, nervous tissue and muscle tissue, each one has its own properties. The main function of connective tissue is nutrition, it supplies nutrientes to epithelial tissues that are responsible for protection.
Muscle tissue has properties that allow movement, the function here is movement and not nutrition like connective tissue.
In what time stomach empty it's content in to doudemun?
write the chemical and mechanical digestion which occurs in stomach?
Does absorption take place in stomach? what are absorption in the stomach by which cell?
Does absorption take place in stomach? what are the absorption in the stomach by which cell?
mechanism of hormone controlling releasing by gland
please can someone explain renin angiotensin aldosteron system for me
name the joint present between epichysif and diachysif
what is arteries
oxygenated blood carrying vessels
I think oxygenated blood carrying pulmonary vein
ya this stetment is right 4 pulmonary vein carrying the oxygenated blood
What is the relation between cold and clammy skin and disorders that cause poor perfusion?
Tyrone Reply
name the instruments used to measure the gas volume and flow in pulmonary function test
Preethi Reply
In a spirometry test, While you are sitting, you breath into a mouthpiece that is connected to an instrument called a spirometer . The spirometer records the amount and the rate of air that you breath in and out over a period of time. When standing, Some numbers might be slightly different.
tq soo much
u most wlcm
what is signal transduction?
Signal Transduction (Also know as cell signaling) is the transmission of molecular signal from a cell exterior to its interior.Signals receive by cells must be transmitted effectively into the cell to ensure an appropriate response. This step is initiated by cell - surface receptors.
i know now didn't know
that's great respond
what is histological anatomy?
Thelma Reply
what is histological anatomy?
the study of form of structure seen under the microscope
is the branch of biology which studies the microscopic anatomy of biological tissues.
it's the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells and tissues in the plants and it's carried out by examining a thin slice of tissues under a microscope light / or an electronic microscope
is the study of anatomy in a microscopic level
thank you
what are the significance differrences can be donated between the female and male skeleton..
What is Ions and Ionic bonds
Ravi Reply
2 less stable atoms
Ionic bonding is the complete transfer of valence electron(s) between atoms. It is a type of chemical bond that generates two oppositely charged ions. In ionic bonds, the metal loses electrons to become a positively charged cation, whereas the nonmetal accepts those electrons to become a negatively
what is osmosis
Brown Reply
it's out Body Fluid.
high pressure to low pressure flow
Osmosis is the movement of solvent from a region of lower solute concentration to a region of higher solute concentration through a semi- permeable membrane.
how many types of tissue
4, that is muscle tissue, connective, nerve and epithelial tissue
We have four types of tissue these are ,epithelial tissue,nerve tissue,muscle tissue and connective tissue
function of labia minora
why is a graph of plasma [glucose] superimposed
Sefai Reply
what is biosphere
Jenessa Reply
supporting life
it is the part of the earth and its atmosphere capable of supporting life
what is the function of villus?
Grant Reply
absorption of nutrients
They have a large surface area so there will be more efficient absorption of fatty acids and glycerol into the blood stream.
what is the relationship between heart and lungs
when blood inter the rihgt ventricle the blood is inpure through the pumps blood rich the luns there blood exchange pure
blood ( inpure blood exchange in to pure blood
I don't understand what these messages are about.
I gave you all the information I could think of. What is next?

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Source:  OpenStax, Anatomy & Physiology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 04, 2016 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11496/1.8
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