What’s the difference between embryonic and adult stem cells?
So what’s the advantage of using stem cells from the embryo that have been reprogrammed in this way? The main advantage is that you can derive a greater variety of cell types. Embryonic stem cells, as they are called, have the potential to be any body cell. Adult stem cells on the other hand have partly committed to different cell fates. So, for example, you can only make muscle cells from adult stem cells found in muscle. The disadvantage to using embryonic stem cells, is that they have the potential to become cancerous. This has not been observed with adult stem cells. When scientists understand how these cells are programmed to become different cell types, embryonic stem cells could be used in therapies. They can also be used to test drugs, which means that animals don’t necessarily need to be used.