Stem Cells aren't actually a type of cell

Posted in the Purdue University Forum

Angela Watson

San Diego, CA

#1 Feb 17, 2013
Something interested a learned from a Q+A with Chinese stem cell researcher Rongxiang Xu:

"Q: Why has there been so much confusion around what constitutes a stem cell?

First of all, back around the year 2000, scientists started to use the term ‘stem cell’ quite loosely if they achieved even one of the criteria.

Secondly, the term ‘stem cell’ is quite misunderstood. There is not actually a type of cell that is a stem cell in the same way that there is, say, a blood cell. A stem cell is actually a stage that a cell goes through. It is analogous to the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a cocoon and then a butterfly. The stem cell stage is a lot like the cocoon stage.

Q: Has this misunderstanding led to any misuse or abuse of how stem cells were used?

Yes, absolutely. To study life science you have to follow the natural pattern of life, otherwise you will never get natural results. Other scientists experimenting with stem cells did not start correctly.

Authentic stem cells represent natural cells within our bodies undergoing a stage of transformation. To go back to the caterpillar analogy, you cannot ‘harvest a cocoon,’ because it is in the transition phase, but this is exactly what other scientists have done by harvesting ‘stem cells’ external to the body. If cocoon tissue were removed and isolated from its metamorphosis, it is taken out of its natural physiological context and loses its essential properties. The authentic stem cell should not be something you can ‘pause,’ study and harvest."
Dave L

San Diego, CA

#2 Feb 17, 2013
That's interesting!

Tell me when this thread is updated:

Subscribe Now Add to my Tracker

Add your comments below

Characters left: 4000

Please note by submitting this form you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Service and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator. Send us your feedback.

Purdue University Discussions

Title Updated Last By Comments
Education briefs (Mar '11) Aug '14 MaltaMon 16
Purdue offering veterinary camps at State Fair Jul '14 Coda1 1
Carrollton Free Press Standard News | School bo... (Jun '14) Jun '14 Randy Miller 5
Could This Meat Save Your Life? (May '14) Jun '14 Monique 10
Odds against accused Purdue shooter's insanity ... (Jun '14) Jun '14 humanSpirit 1
One Weird Trick to Destroy a Man's Ego (Mar '14) Apr '14 lonniebauk 70
Local Catholic schools face declining enrollment (Jan '14) Feb '14 Lefty 48
More from around the web