Gastrointestinal cell proliferation plays an important role in the maintenance of the integrity of the gastrointestinal system. The study of gastrointestinal proliferation kinetics allows a better understanding of the complexity of the system, and also has important implications for the study of gastrointestinal carcinogenesis. Gastrointestinal stem cells are shown to be pluripotential and to give rise to all cell lineages in the epithelium. Carcinogenesis in the colon occurs through sequential mutations, possibly occurring in a single cell--the stem cell.
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