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  • Planarian Regeneration and Stem Cells

    Planarian Regeneration and Stem Cells

    Scientists at Work

    (11 min 47 sec) A mini-documentary discussing the remarkable regenerative capabilities of the planarian, and how HHMI researcher Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado uses them to study the biology of stem cells.

  • Human Embryonic Development

    Human Embryonic Development

    Animation

    (2 min 18 sec) Human embryonic development depends on stem cells. During the course of development, cells divide, migrate, and specialize. Early in development, a group of cells called the inner cell mass (ICM) forms. These cells are able to produce all the tissues of the body. Later in development, during gastrulation, the three germ layers form, and most cells become more restricted in the types of cells that they can produce.

  • Differentiation and the Fate of Cells

    Differentiation and the Fate of Cells

    Animation

    (1 min 29 sec) As a human embryo develops, its cells become progressively restricted in the types of specialized cells that they can produce. Inner cell mass (ICM) cells of the blastocyst can make any type of body cell. Gastrula-stage cells can give rise to the cells of a given germ layer. Later, cells become even more restricted. For example, the pancreatic bud of the endoderm layer can only make the cells of the pancreas.

  • Creating Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

    Creating Embryonic Stem Cell Lines

    Animation

    (1 min 38 sec) The inner cell mass (ICM) cells of blastocyst-stage early human embryos can be removed and cultured. These cells can be grown in the lab indefinitely. Various growth factors cause these cells to develop into a variety of differentiated cells, such as muscle or nerve cells.

  • Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Animation

    Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer Animation

    Animation

    (52 sec) Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) is a technique for cloning. The nucleus is removed from a healthy egg. This egg becomes the host for a nucleus that is transplanted from another cell, such as a skin cell. The resulting embryo can be used to generate embryonic stem cells with a genetic match to the nucleus donor (therapeutic cloning), or can be implanted into a surrogate mother to create a cloned individual, such as Dolly the sheep (reproductive cloning).

  • Pitx1 Expression

    Pitx1 Expression

    Animation

    (55 sec) In the stickleback fish, pelvic-fin reduction resulted from changes in the regulatory switch elements of the Pitx1 gene. In the marine ancestor, the Pitx1 gene is activated in the pelvic-fin region during development to generate the fin. In the pelvic-reduced stickleback, the regulatory switch that normally turns on the Pitx1 gene is either missing or non-functional.

  • X Inactivation

    X Inactivation

    Animation

    (55 sec) This animation shows how the random deactivation of one of the X chromosomes in a pair can lead to a mozaicism in the expression genes. 

  • Meiosis

    Meiosis

    Animation

    (5 min 53 sec) Meiosis, the form of cell division unique to egg and sperm production, sets the stage for sex determination by creating sperm that carry either an X or a Y sex chromosome. But what is it about the X or Y that determines sex? Also available in Spanish.

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