How are stem cells developed?

Embryonic stem cells are 'harvested' or collected from the very early stages of a fertilised egg called a blastocyst.


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Adult stem cells are collected from a limited number of cell types in the body. Often cells in fat (adipose tissue) can be used because they have less specialised characteristics.  More often bone marrow cells or from very early stages of tissue development are collected.

Umbilical cord stem cells are collected from the cells of the umbical cord of a recently born baby. Some of these cells are slightly undeveloped and so can turn into other types of cells (multipotent)

There are wide range of chemical signals (factors) from nearby cells that direct what the cells should become. Identifying these factors is major concern of researchers.