Currently, there are two kinds of stem cells being researched extensively by scientists — the embryonic stem cells and the adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are grown from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro fertilization clinics. On the other hand, adult stem cells, also known as somatic stem cells, are living organisms that exist in the body to repair tissue. Somatic stem cells originate from the blood, skin, teeth, and skeletal muscles, among others. They ensure that broken tissue can regenerate and heal. Embryonic stem cell research is particularly important because of the difference between the two kinds of stem cells, and the benefits that each present.
Difference between Somatic and Embryonic Stem Cells
The main difference between the two kinds of stem cells is that embryonic stem cells are pluripotent while somatic stem cells can only repair tissue from which it originates. According to embryonic stem cell research, embryonic stem cells are better equipped to repair different kinds of tissue because they can change into any cell type in a body and repair any area. Alternatively, if a somatic stem cell was harvested from muscle tissue, then that is the only kind of tissue that it can repair.
Another difference between these two stem cells is their reception to being cultivated. Embryonic stem cell research has led to the discovery that embryonic stem cells grow easily in culture (i.e. habitat of stem cells). On the other hand, adult stem cells are very rare and harvested from specific tissue. They are difficult to grow in cell cultures.
The Uses of Embryonic Stem Cell Research
Embryonic stem cell research allows health professionals to discover and study a handful of bodily functions and clinical procedures that are not yet fully understood — such as the development of tissues from fertilization to adulthood, the process in which diseases occur and develop the possible discovery of cell-based therapies and new drugs.
Since, in embryonic stem cell research, embryos are formed through laboratory procedures, the entire process of the embryo developing into a fetus can be recorded and observed. Additionally, diseases — such as birth defects and cancer — which come from underdeveloped or overdeveloped cells and tissue can be observed. Lastly, cell-based therapies can also be tested and tried for possible cures for currently untreatable diseases. Consequently, the cells can also be testing grounds for new drugs — the cells could show how these drugs affect cell and tissue regeneration as possible cures for specific diseases.
Embryonic stem cell research is a relatively new field of study that most people are still skeptical about. It shows how life is formed and delves into the processes that entail this formation of life. The benefits that can be reaped from this kind of research are highly beneficial for all mankind.