Best analogies for stem cells for public outreach

I’m often asked, “How can I help people ‘get’ stem cells with an analogy?”

What are the best stem cell analogies? Here are the ones I’ve thought up that resonated most powerfully in my public outreach including with kids.

Stem cells as Transformers.Transformers

They are cool.

They can transform into all different kinds of things.

They are exciting.

They are mighty.

They can do positive or negative.


Stem cells as blank tiles in Scrabble.

They can literally be what you want them to be if you use them properly.

They are extremely powerful.stem cells scrabble

They can make things happen.

They can change things up.


Stem cells as a tree or tree trunk.

Stem Cell Symbol

They can grow.

They can branch out.

They can bear fruit.

They are a symbol of hope.

In Portuguese, “stem cells” is “células tronco”, which literally translated means “trunk cells”.

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