Definition of totipotent in English:



  • (of an immature or stem cell) capable of giving rise to any cell type or (of a blastomere) a complete embryo.

    ‘totipotent embryo cells can differentiate into a hundred different cell types specialized to form such tissues as skin, marrow, and muscle’
    • ‘In the early stages after fertilization - immediately after a sperm and egg join together and begin dividing - stem cells are considered totipotent.’
    • ‘What he showed next were a series of experiments in which they pushed cultured, totipotent mouse embryonic stem cells to desired neural fates using the various factors he had identified as significant in vivo.’
    • ‘Here, human or mouse embryonic stem cells, in vitro representatives of the totipotent inner cell mass blastomeres, are placed into culture.’
    • ‘For the first few divisions, up to at least the 8-cell stage, all the cells of the tiny embryo are totipotent stem cells.’
    • ‘Thus, unlike totipotent single-cell embryos, pluripotent embryonic stem cells are specialized cells that have limited developmental capabilities.’


Early 20th century: from Latin totus whole + potent.