What is Totipotency?

By K Balaji|Updated : November 9th, 2022

A cell which has an ability to divide and differentiates to develop the whole plant is called as totipotency and such cell is called as totipotent cell.

Define Totipotency

  • The term totipotent has two different definitions in the medical lexicon run by the National Institutes of Health: "capable of growing into a complete organism" and "differentiating into any of its tissues or cells."
  • The crucial distinctions between these two definitions are at the heart of most of the misunderstanding surrounding the term totipotency. Although a one-cell embryo is "totipotent" in both definitions, some authors exclusively use the second term to refer to malignancies and stem cells.
  • The discrepancies among these two definitions are not slight. To create a mature organism, it is necessary to be able to both manufacture every cell in the body and arrange them in a specific temporal and spatial sequence, or to go through a coordinated development process.
  • In this view, totipotency is shown by the ability of an isolated cell to mature into an adult who is fertile. A totipotent cell can therefore form a developmentally coordinated sequence at the global level and is a one-cell embryo.

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