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Encyclopedia > Totipotent

Totipotency is the ability of a single cell, usually a stem cell, to divide and produce all the differentiated cells in an organism, including extraembrionic tissues. For example, a plant cutting can be used to grow an entire plant.Human development begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg and creates a single totipotent cell. In the first hours after fertilization, this cell divides into identical totipotent cells. Approximately four days after fertilization and after several cycles of cell division, these totipotent cells begin to specialize.

Totipotent cells have total potential. They specialize into pluripotent cells that can give rise to most, but not all, of the tissues necessary for fetal development. Pluripotent cells undergo further specialization into multipotent cells that are committed to give rise to cells that have a particular function. For example, multipotent blood stem cells give rise to the red cells, white cells and platelets in the blood.

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  Results from FactBites:
Classes of Stem Cells (240 words)
There are three classes of stem cells: totipotent, pluripotent and multipotent (also known as unipotent).
Totipotency is a stem cell’s ability to divide and transform itself into any cell required for proper fetal development.
A pluripotent cell is derived from a totipotent cell.
totipotent (429 words)
A distinction is drawn between totipotent stem cells which are capable of developing into a human being and pluripotent stem cells which are not so capable.
Totipotent stem cells – those capable of developing into a human being –are excluded from patentability on the grounds of human dignity as set out in the...
The report states that totipotent stem cells (those capable of developing into a human being) are excluded from patentability on the grounds of human dignity...
  More results at FactBites »



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