Conclusion

Stem cells have revolutionized many areas of biology, and with continued research more information will be learned regarding these unique cells. Comparisons of prospective applications between mammalian adult, ES, EG, and EC cells indicate varying levels of potential. Adult stem cell potential has not been as extensively investigated compared to ES cells due to the difficulty of identifying adult stem cells in a population of cells. EG cells have limited ability to recapitulate normal development due to genetic modifications affecting imprinting status of the cells. EC cells contain karyotypic abnormalities and have limited potential to transmit through the germ line of chimeric animals. ES cells do not possess any major limiting characteristics in comparison to the other cell types, which demonstrates their preferential use in scientific studies. ES cells offer a multitude of applications including access to a population of precursor cells difficult to identify in vivo, ability to identify novel genes during early embryonic development and differentiation processes, use as a standardized in vitro model to test em-bryotoxic effects of chemicals,[9] the study of targeted mutations of genes that may be lethal in vivo but can be studied in vitro, and less expensive teratogen testing that does not involve isolating embryos or sacrificing animals. The potential applications of stem-cell technology in livestock production are tremendous. The utility of this technology is limited only by our ability to identify appropriate genes and gene functions to manipulate in our production of livestock species.

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