What Is Stem Cell Differentiation

A stem cell is a unique cell, which continuously divides itself into another cell or tissue. In this process, they replace the dead cells. With this feature they are able to cure patients inflicted with diseases like cancer, arthritis etc. and thus possessing dead cells. These cells have two very peculiar features which differentiate it from the other cells. Firstly, these cells are capable of regenerating themselves through a process called cell division, sometimes after a persistent inactive state. Secondly, under special experimental conditions, they can be transformed into tissues possessing special functions. Stem cells are vividly important for the well-being of living organisms.

Stem cells are one of its types. They possess following three properties:

First, they can regenerate themselves for quite a long period of time. Second, they are not specialized. Third, they have the ability to produce specialized cells.

In Stem cell differentiation process, a less specialized cell gets transformed into a more specialized cell. When a multi-cellular organism is in its process of growth, stem cell differentiation occurs repeatedly. There are primarily two types of stem cells- embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells derive their origin from an embryo that is found in fertilized eggs in clinics and from eggs in a woman’s body. Via the process known as Cell Culture, eggs are grown in a laboratory. Then by a process known as Characterization scientists in the laboratories test that does this artificially grown stem cell exhibits properties of an actual embryonic stem cell.

Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells. Their major aim is to repair the respective tissues in the body of which they are a part of. Also known as somatic stem cells, their origin is still in process. These cells reside in a particular part of a tissue. Normal differentiation states that the adult stem cells found in their respective tissues divide continuously to produce cells that have similar characteristics as the parent tissue. While a stem cell cannot differentiate into cell types other than its expected lineage but it happens quite a few times in a process called trans-differentiation.

There are certain differences between the two types of stem cells. A major difference between them is that an embryonic stem cell can grow into all cell types in a body while this property is not exhibited by an adult stem cell as it can grow only into a tissue in which it resides. Embryonic stem cells unlike adult stem cells can grow quite easily. A yet another term associated with stem cell differentiation is “pluripotent” stem cell. This type of cell is able to differentiate into all types of cells of an adult.


Stem cells can be employed into many research and clinic projects, the most important one being the transplant of organs from a lively person to a diseased patient.