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ROCHESTER, MN, January 23, 2002 (LSN.ca) – Researchers at the University of Minnesota have discovered a stem cell in human adult bone marrow which can turn into every single tissue in the body, a claim until now only hypothesized about for embryonic stem cells. The New Scientist reports that if the research, which has undergone intensive experimentation, is independently verified, it would leave researchers with no justification for stem cell research using cells taken from human embryos.

Catherine Verfaillie at the University of Minnesota, made the discovery and called the cells multipotent adult progenitor cells, or MAPCs. While other researchers have claimed to have found stem cells with the same versatility as embryos, Verfaillie's team is the first to carry out experiments which demonstrate it. Moreover, the cells seem to grow indefinitely in culture, without losing their characteristics.

The New Scientist reports that there is at least one difference between MAPCs and embryonic stem cells (ESCs), “Unlike ESCs, for example, they do not seem to form cancerous masses if you inject them into adults.”

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