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Signals that make early stem cells identified

Stem cells work throughout our lives as a sort of handyman, repairing damaged tissues and renewing some normal ones, like the skin we shed. Scientists have come to understand much about how stem cells function when we are adults, but less is known about where these stem cells come from to begin with, as an embryo is developing.

Stem Cell Debut
The researchers traced the cell divisions that occur as hair follicles form in mice to determine where stem cells first emerge. Above, developing hair follicles are shown at various stages.
Credit: The Robin Chemers Neustein Laboratory of Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University/Cell