AAT Bioquest

What are the differences between stem cells and normal cells?

Posted November 6, 2023


Basis of differentiation

Stem cells

Normal cells


Are undifferentiated cells of a multicellular organism which that able to infinitely multiply into more cells of the same type

Normal cells are the basic structural and functional units of all forms of life; they are unable to self-renew 


Stem cells are able to differentiate into normal cells

Normal cells cannot differentiate into stem cell


Stem cells do not undergo meiosis

Some normal cells undergo meiosis (germ cells)

Organisms found in

Stem cells are found in most multicellular organisms

Normal cells are found in all organisms

Cell lineages

Stem cells are found at the beginning of the cell lineage because they give rise to daughter cells and differentiated cells

Normal cells are found at the end of the cell lineages 


The lifetime depends on the type of stem cells, and survive comparatively longer than normal cells

Lifespan of normal cells is comparatively shorter than stem cells, and varies depending on the location in the body


Can be used in transplantation (stem cell therapy)

Are typically not used in transplantation therapy


Its main function is to differentiate into other cells

Has various different functions in the body (e.g. taking in nutrients from food, protein synthesis, moving substances across the cell membrane)

Additional resources

Cell culture

Cell Proliferation Assays

Assay development services