February 07, 2020

Plant stem cells are innately undifferentiated cells located in the meristems of plants. Plant stem cells serve as the origin of plant vitality, as they maintain themselves while providing a steady supply of precursor cells to form differentiated tissues and organs in plants.

They have the ability to create all differentiated cell types and the ability to self-renew such that the number of stem cells is maintained. Plant stem cells never undergo the ageing process but immortally give rise to new specialized and unspecialized cells, and they have the potential to grow into any organ, tissue, or cell in the body.

As plants are immobile and cannot escape from danger by taking motion, they need a special mechanism to withstand various and sometimes unforeseen environmental stress. Here, what empowers them to withstand harsh external influence and preserve life is stem cells. In fact, plants comprise the oldest and the largest living organisms on earth.

In 2010, researchers from the Plant Stem Cell Institute (formerly Unhwa Institute of Science and Technology) presented their data to the world via Nature Biotechnology. Their research demonstrated the world's first cambial meristematic cell (CMC) isolation. Due to the valuable and beneficial compounds for human health (i.e. paclitaxel) which are secreted by the CMC's, this technology is considered a serious breakthrough in plant biotechnology.