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Human embryonic stem (ES) cells capture the imagination because they are immortal and have an almost unlimited developmental potential. After many months of growth in culture dishes, these remarkable cells maintain the ability to form cells ranging from muscle to nerve to blood—potentially any cell type that makes up the body. The proliferative and developmental potential of human ES cells promises an essentially unlimited supply of specific cell types for basic research and for transplantation therapies for diseases ranging from heart disease to Parkinson’s disease to leukemia.

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