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Cells

The basic unit from which all living organisms are built up, consisting of a cell membrane surrounding cytoplasm and a nucleus.

Polymerase chain reaction

PCR is a series of temperature-controlled reactions which enable us to amplify a very tiny sample of DNA,  producing enough material for it to be analysed or used in DNA profiling.

Stem cells

Cells which can divide repeatedly without becoming differentiated and have the capacity to develop into a diverse range of specialised cell types.

Genetic engineering

Genetic engineering involves changing the DNA of an organism, usually by deleting, inserting or editing a gene to produce desired characteristics.

Biotechnology

The use of biological organisms or enzymes to create, break down or transform a material.

What can stem cells do?

Stem cells exist naturally in the body to replace damaged cells and tissues. Research into stem cells could allow:

  • the development of a treatment that allows people paralysed because of spinal injuries to walk again
  • the possibility of growing replacement organs that are matched to the patient
  • genetic disorders to be studied and new drugs to treat them tested.

None of these are readily available yet - but trials are underway to investigate whether they are possible.

Contents

Click here to download the Stem Cell Research poster shown below.

stem cell research poster

To order a free set of ABPI schools posters on the following topics: biotechnology, cloning, genetic engineering, unravelling the genome, polymerase chain reaction and stem cells, please fill in our order form.

How to use this site

There are a number of interactive features in this e-source:

    Glossary

    A list of often difficult or specialised words with their definitions.

  • A glossary of terms: any word with a glossary entry is highlighted like this.
  • Quick questions: at the end of most pages or sections there is a question or set of quick questions to test your understanding.
  • Animations: most of the animations can be expanded to full screen size, ideal for showing on an interactive whiteboard. The animations will play all the way through or can be viewed one section at a time.
  • Downloads: Teachers can download individual diagrams, animations and other content from the Download Library area of the website. Terms and Conditions apply.