In a study done on mice, China’s Tsinghua University researchers were able to convert normal cells into totipotent stem cells using a new drug cocktail. The new drug is named TAW cocktail. It contains three molecules named TTNPB, 1-Azakenpaullone, and WS6.
Totipotent stem cells are also known as the very seed of life. They can transform into any other form of cells in the body.
Not all stem cells are similar. There are different types of stem cells in the body.
There are mainly three different categories: totipotent, multipotent, and pluripotent. Multipotent stem cells are also known as adult or somatic stem cells. They are found in the tissues of an adult organism. Hematopoietic stem cells found in bone marrow, from which many types of blood cells are created is one example of Multipotent stem cells. They can be differentiated into only closely related cells.
Pluripotent stem cells, on the other hand, can differentiate into almost any type of cell in the body. They are found in embryos.
Totipotent stem cells are found in the zygote or the first few divisions of the zygote. A Zygote is the first single-cell formed from the fertilization of two gametes. They can later transform into any other cell of the body.
Totipotent cells exist at the start of development and persist through the first two or three stages. During later stages, they become pluripotent stem cells and further specialize to create all of the body’s cells.
In the last couple of years, scientists were able to take adult cells and transform it into pluripotent stem cells. But this is the first time someone is able to transform pluripotent cells into totipotent form.
A lot of new opportunities will open up because of this discovery. This new breakthrough could be really big for infertility, human reproduction, and endangered species because we will be able to create living organisms without using sperm and egg in the future. That would help people to have children who otherwise couldn’t and also aid the conservation of endangered species.
The study was published on Nature. Check it out here.