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23
Mar

Human stem cell

Sílvia A Ferreira, Cristina Lopo and Eileen Gentleman, King’s College London

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“This is a scanning electron micrograph of a stem cell taken from the bone marrow inside the hip bone of a healthy person,” explains Robin Lovell-Badge, a Wellcome awards judge and head of stem cell biology and developmental genetics at the Francis Crick Institute.

“This really stood out, we found the natural symmetry alongside the very subtle colouring very striking. It’s lovely and sharp.”

Stem cells can divide to make some of the other types of cells found in the body.

This one is about 15 micrometres (0.015mm) across – and before the image could be taken, it was first frozen at cryogenic temperatures (lower than −150C or −238F).

Dividing stem cell in the brain

Paula Alexandre, University College London

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This swirling pattern shows different stages of a stem cell splitting in two inside the brain of a zebrafish before it hatches.

The circle is about 250 micrometres (0.25mm) wide, and covers a time period of nine hours.

Starting at about the eight o’clock position, the cell splits to make two different cells found in the brain.

“It helps us visualise embryonic development by showing nature’s beautifully orchestrated process of stem cell division – producing a new (purple) stem cell and a differentiated (white) nerve cell,” says Anne Deconinck, executive director of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research at MIT, in the US.

To see the other 17 finalists click here