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1.2 Stem Cells 👩‍👧‍👧👩‍👧‍👧👩‍👧‍👧

stem cells

Introduction to stem cells

This is a core JC1 topic in H2 BIO A levels. This topic explores how some of the cells of a multi-celllar organism take on the special role of tissue renewal in addition to self-renewal. It also describes the 3 specific stem cell types, their definitions as well as ethical issues of their usage in science and medicine.

To fully understand this topic, you will need to build on COEG and cell signalling.

Materials for stem cells

YouTube video

Phrasing errors

  • Stem cells divide extensively.
  • Stem cells proliferate and differentiate by mitosis.
  • When somatic cells are injured, stem cells repair damaged cells.
  • Stem cells are unspecialised cells that differentiate to specialized cells, in the process they lose genes that have no function in these cells.

Exam tips

  • Differentiation ≠ cell division.
  • Self-renewal ≠ tissue renewal.
  • Ethical implications are fairly open-ended so long as you present coherent points, with elaboration!
  • Do not answer questions on ethical implications with a series of unanswered questions. E.g. what if patient didn’t know…?