Cliches abound to describe the “unique” properties of adult tissue stem cells. The lay publications of the National Institutes of Health are full of them. “Self-renew.” “Differentiate.” “Multipotent.” The problem with lazy cliches is that they often understate and distort the calming and terrifying beauty of life. The life of adult stem cells is no different.
5 things you probably didn’t know about adult stem cells
1. It’s hard to distinguish them from other related tissue cells. So, scientists haven’t be able to count them.
2. Since it hasn’t been possible to count them, doctors treat with them without knowing their dose.
3. If they could be counted, stem cell therapies would improve.
4. Some of them have been shown to hold onto old DNA molecules, called immortal strands.
5. Some scientists think that changes in their DNA (mutations), accumulated over time, play a role in aging.