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Define totipotency.

Last updated date: 15th Jul 2024
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Hint: The process of fertilization will result in the formation of a zygote which will undergo various divisions to form totipotent cells which later develop into various organs of the human body.

Complete answer:
The ability to divide and then the formation and production of the differentiated cells in an organism from a single cell are known as totipotency. A living cell also can express all of its genes to regenerate a whole new individual.
In the 1950s, Steward and Reinert were the first to demonstrate totipotency. Professor F. C. Steward discovered and laid the foundation for plant tissue culture; genetic engineering and plant biotechnology of food crops or trees.

Additional information:
1. Totipotency is directed towards those cells which are having a higher ability to differentiate and form any embryonic or extra-embryonic cells.
2. They can replicate in unlimited numbers without losing their total potency.
3. Spores and zygotes are examples of totipotent cells.
4. To produce an improved variety of plants the technique of tissue culture is used which produces plants that are pathogen-free and disease-resistant.
5. Totipotent cells from animals are now being used as clone mammals.
6. The totipotent cells have the ability to develop into any cell type while the stem cells have the ability to develop into different cell types, thus making the totipotent cell more ideal and are also used in gene therapies as well as tissue engineering for transplants and replacement of disease cells.
The examples of totipotent cells in an organism are spores and zygotes. The process of totipotency can be well explained by the human development model.

Note: Cell potency is of various types and is hierarchically arranged as totipotent stem cells, pluripotent stem cells (capacity to produce several distinct biological responses), multipotent stem cells (progenitor cells), and unipotent stem cells (one cell can form a complete organism). The word totipotent is derived from the Latin word totipotent, meaning ‘ability for all’.