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Happy stem cell awareness day

Human embryonic stem cells.JPG

UPDATE: CIRM has posted the winners of the stem cell poetry contest, plus a couple of humorous non-entries that made me giggle. Check them out.

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Did you wake up with a little extra bounce in your step today? Could it be due to last night's announcement about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, you wonder? More likely it's because today is the third annual Stem Cell Awareness Day, which is sponsored by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). According to CIRM:

The day is a unique global opportunity to foster greater understanding about stem cell research and the range of potential applications for disease and injury.

A variety of events are taking place today in California and across the nation to commemorate the day, including poetry and art contests, symposiums and laboratory tours. So go ahead. Enjoy your day. But take a minute to think about the stem cells that got you here. (Walking to school uphill, no doubt. Both ways. In the snow.)

According to CIRM, the image above shows a line of human embryonic stem cells derived under controlled conditions that could make the cells useful for transplantation. The nuclei in green are stained for a protein that is found only in embryonic stem cells. Blue represents the DNA of the surrounding feeder cells.

Photo courtesy Julie Baker, PhD

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