AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between cell proliferation and cell differentiation?

Posted September 16, 2022


Cell proliferation and cell differentiation are processes that occur during the development of cells in multicellular organisms. There are significant differences between these two processes. 

Basis of differentiationCell proliferationCell differentiation
DefinitionRefers to the process that is responsible for increasing the number of cellsRefers to the process that is responsible for altering the morphology and function of regular cells and transforming them into more specialized types of cells capable of performing specific functions
SignificanceThe number of cells increases due to this processNon-specialized cells become functionally specialized due to this process
Causative factor - MechanismIs the result of cell growth and cell divisionIs a result of the regulation of gene expression
Where the process first occursOccurs first in stem cellsCells that proliferate in stem cells later differentiate into special functional cell types
FunctionHelps in replenishing number of cells as well as replacing damaged or dead cellsHelps in replacing damaged and dead cells in tissues 
Additional resources

Cell Proliferation Assays

ReadiUse™ CFSE [5-(and 6)-Carboxyfluorescein diacetate, succinimidyl ester] *CAS 150347-59-4*

Cell Proliferation in Development and Differentiation