Stem cell discovery

Stem cells

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology

Over 60 years ago, Yves Clermont and Charles Leblond characterized the steps of sperm differentiation in the testis. This enabled them to identify, for the first time, the population of spermatogonia responsible for the production of spermatozoa.

Years later, we celebrate the publication of their discovery and landmark paper described by them as 'the reappearance at each cycle of a new dormant cell which acts as the stem cell of a subsequent generation of spermatocytes—is described as the "Stem Cell Renewal Theory."’ This paper reveals the first identified population of stem cells and the first time the term 'stem cells' has been used in this biological context in literature. This ground breaking discovery affects the therapeutic application of stem cells necessary in order to alleviate human diseases such as cancer and devastating degenerative diseases (Y. Clermont and C.P. Leblond. Renewal of spermatogonia in the rat. Am. J. Anat. 1953. 93:475-501). 

The Stem Cell Renewal Theory: The Other Big Paper of 1953 from The American Society for Cell Biology.

The 60th anniversary of Drs. C.P. Leblond and Yves Clermont’s seminal discovery of the stem cell renewal theory was recently recognized in Nature. Read the full story.