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Gut: Development and Regeneration Potential

The majority of gut development occurs during the prenatal period. During this time, a complicated growth process of budding, elongation, and differentiation occurs in order to form the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, and pancreas. This growth is mediated by stem cells found within the alimentary canal (or gut) along with specific growth factors that help to signal growth and differentiation. During infancy, the intestines continue to differentiate and increase the number of villi and crypts. Throughout human life, stem cells within the intestines rapidly replace epithelial cells that have been sloughed. Stem cells are also vital in repairing injured tissue within each of these areas. This stem cell activity helps to maintain tissue homeostasis in adult organs and allows for remodeling, growth, and ...

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