The portal has been deactivated. Please contact your portal admin.

Question Video: Identifying Errors in a Statement about Stem Cells Biology

A student writes, “Stem cells in humans are specialized cells that can differentiate into a range of body cells.” What is incorrect about this statement?

02:26

Video Transcript

A student writes, “Stem cells in humans are specialized cells that can differentiate into a range of body cells.” What is incorrect about this statement? (A) Stem cells can only differentiate into one or two different types of cells. (B) Stem cells cannot differentiate at all. (C) Stem cells are unspecialized, not specialized. (D) This statement is completely correct.

Let’s first learn about stem cells then come back to the question to see if we can determine the right answer.

Cells can be specialized or unspecialized. Specialized cells are differentiated. They have developed features that help them to carry out their particular role successfully. For example, red blood cells are specialized for transporting oxygen. White blood cells are specialized for fighting pathogens. And neurons are specialized for transmitting electrical impulses.

Stem cells, by contrast, are unspecialized. They have yet to develop unique structures to help them with any specific functions. There are two main types of stem cell: pluripotent and multipotent. Pluripotent stem cells have the ability to develop into almost any type of cell. Multipotent stem cells can only differentiate into certain types of cells.

Hematopoietic stem cells, or blood stem cells, are multipotent. They can only differentiate into different types of white or red blood cells, as shown in the diagram. A hematopoietic stem cell couldn’t become a neuron or epithelial cell.

Now that we have learnt about stem cells, let’s have another look at our question. A student writes, “Stem cells in humans are specialized cells that can differentiate into a range of body cells.” What is incorrect about this statement? We now know that the incorrect part of the statement is the use of the term “specialized” to describe a stem cell. Stem cells are unspecialized cells with the potential to become specialized cells. So the correct answer is (C); stem cells are unspecialized, not specialized.

Nagwa uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.