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Stem cell and differential gene expression

1. (a) The diagram below shows two different stem cells and the differentiated cells that
they can form.(jan 2009)

(i) Use the diagram to explain why stem cell B is described as pluripotent.
(2)
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(ii) Suggest one site where stem cell A may be found in an adult human.
(1)
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(iii) All the differentiated cells derived from stem cell B have the same genotype
but have very different structures and functions. This is due to differential
gene expression.
Explain how differential gene expression can enable cells which have the
same genetic material to have very different structures and functions.
(3)
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(b) Three examples of how temperature affects organisms are given below. If the
example is due to differential gene expression, place a cross ( ) in the box to the
right of that example.
(1)

Examples

The rate of protein synthesis within a plant is temperature


dependent.
The gender of turtles is determined by the temperature of the
ground in which the eggs are laid.
Asexual reproduction is more rapid in bacteria if the
temperature is higher.
(Total for Question 1 = 7 marks)

2. During an infection, some white blood cells make glycoproteins which become part
of their cell surface membranes. To make glycoproteins, the white blood cells must
first synthesise proteins on the surface of their rough endoplasmic reticulum.(jun 2009)
(a) Explain how these newly-made proteins end up as glycoproteins on the cell
surface membrane.
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(b) There are certain rare blood disorders in which there is a shortage of white blood cells.
One potential treatment would be to inject totipotent stem cells into individuals with these
disorders.
(i) Explain what is meant by the term totipotent stem cell.
(2)
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(ii) Suggest why injecting totipotent stem cells may benefit a person with a
shortage of white blood cells.
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(iii) Suggest one risk to the person receiving the stem cells.
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(Total for Question 2 = 9 marks)

3 In the roots of plants, cell division, cell elongation (growth) and cell differentiation occur in
different zones near the root tip.(jan 2010)
The diagram below show the three different zones in a root. Photographs A and B show some
of the tissues present in two of these zones.

(b) Explain how differential gene expression could result in the specialisation of cells.
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(c) Only one of the two tissues shown in the photographs A and B is totipotent.
Describe how you could use a plant tissue culture technique to show which of the two tissues
is totipotent.
(4)
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JUNE 2010

3. Stem cells are considered to be a potential treatment for many conditions. However,
research on stem cells needs to be regulated.(jun 2010)
*(a) Explain the meaning of the term stem cell.
(2)
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(b) State three potential sources of human stem cells.


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(c) (i) Suggest two reasons why there are regulating authorities for human embryo
research.
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(ii) Suggest why these regulating authorities should include people involved in
human embryo research and people not involved in embryo research.
(2)
People involved in embryo research ..............................................................................................................................................................................
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(Total for Question 4 = 9 marks)

5. There are several types of stem cell found in humans.(jan 2011)


The table below shows some features of two types of stem cell. If the feature
applies to the stem cell place a tick () in the box and if it does not apply, place a
cross () in the box.
(2)

*(c) Human bone marrow contains stem cells that can give rise to various types of
blood cell including white blood cells.
Suggest how a stem cell in the bone marrow can become a differentiated blood
cell. (4)
JUNE 2011

Stem cells can differentiate into specialised cells and tissues.


(a) There are about 23 000 genes in a human body cell. The table below shows the
number of genes that have not been switched off, in three different cells, A, B and C.
Suggest which of these cells is a totipotent stem cell.

Give reasons for your answer.


(3)
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(b) A fertilised egg can be used as a source of human pluripotent stem cells.
(i) Explain what is meant by the term pluripotent stem cell.
(2)

(ii) Describe how a fertilised egg can be used as a source of human pluripotent
stem cells.
(3)

(Total for Question 5 = 8 marks)

6. A scientist wanted to use stem cells to develop a new treatment for adults with
Alzheimers disease.(jan 2012)
These stem cells could come from an embryo or an adult.
(a) Read through the following passage on the use of embryos as a source of stem
cells, then write on the dotted lines the most appropriate word or words to
complete the passage.
(4)
When an egg cell becomes fertilised, it is called a .............................................................. .
After the first cell division there are two cells and after the fourth division the
number of cells is .............................................................. .
Each of these cells has the potential to give rise to any type of cell and is therefore
said to be .............................................................. .
After approximately five days, a mass of cells forms called a blastocyst.
Scientists can extract stem cells from the blastocyst, which are said to be
.............................................................. , as they can give rise to most cells, but not

extra-embryonic cells.

7. Recently, scientists have shown an interest in using plant tissue culture techniques to
produce large numbers of genetically identical cotton plants. Cotton plants provide
fibres used for clothing.(jun 2013)
Plant tissue culture techniques depend on the totipotent properties of the cells used.
(a) Describe how you could use a plant tissue culture technique to show totipotency
in cotton plant seedlings.
(4)

(b) Scientists used similar plant tissue culture techniques to investigate the effect of
the age of the seedlings on totipotency.
Seedlings were divided into four groups, each consisting of 25 seedlings. One group
was grown for 7 days before the plant tissue culture technique was carried out.
The number of seedlings that showed totipotency was recorded as a percentage.
This procedure was repeated for the other three groups of seedlings, which
were grown for 14, 21 and 28 days respectively before the plant tissue culture
technique was carried out.
The results are shown in the table below.

(i) Describe the effect of age on the percentage of seedlings showing


totipotency.
(2)
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(ii) The scientists were concerned about the reliability of the data.
Suggest how the data could have been made more reliable.
(2)

(c) As cotton plants grow, they release a substance called phenol.


In another investigation, the scientists measured the concentration of phenol
released by seedlings.
The results are shown in the graph below.
(i) Using the information in the table in part (b) and the graph, give evidence to
support the hypothesis that phenol reduces totipotency.
(1)

(ii) Using the information in the table in part (b) and the graph, give evidence
that does not support the hypothesis that phenol reduces totipotency.
(1)
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(d) Human stem cell research involves the use of both totipotent and pluripotent
stem cells.
Describe the differences between a totipotent stem cell and a pluripotent stem
cell.
(2)