colony-forming unit

colony-forming unit
(= CFU-S)
Irradiated mice can have their immune systems reconstituted by the injection of bone marrow cells from a non-irradiated animal. The injected cells form colonies in the spleen (hence -S), each colony representing the progeny of a pluripotent stem cell. Operationally, therefore, the number of colony-forming units is a measure of the number of stem cells.

Dictionary of molecular biology. 2004.

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