ANN ARBOR, Michigan, August 30, 2002 ( – Studies at the University of Michigan have revealed that some types of stem cells in adult laboratory rats survive from before birth. Neural stem cells are gestational cells that develop into the peripheral nervous system.

“This is the first indication that [such cells] remain in the peripheral nervous system—not only after birth, but into adult life,” says study author Dr. Sean J. Morrison. “We don't know what these neural crest stem cells are doing in the gut or whether they persist into adult life in humans, as they do in rats. The importance of the study is that it provides the first evidence that stem cells persist in the adult peripheral nervous system.” Such cells would therefore not need to be “harvested” by destroying embryos.


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