As with many discoveries, a long history of research and contributions from many scientists are pivotal. Stem cell history is no different.
With the advent of the microscope followed by the discovery of cells, scientists probed deeper to understand the biochemistry of cell biology – how cells propagate and give rise to another cell and then tissues.
Late 1800s: The history of stem cell research started in the late 1800s when scientists tried to fertilize mammalian eggs in vitro but only met with slight success which could've been improved with more advanced research tools.
1960s: Another success was made when researchers in the early to mid 1960s revealed that sexual organs of mice possess some unique cells that could give rise to various other kinds of cells. With this finding, researchers first began to think about stem cells.
1978: The discovery of stem cells in human cord blood.
1988: Embryonic stem cell lines from a hamster.
1998: James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin isolated human embryo cells from a human blastocyst -- a hollow structure, which is made up of an outer layer of cells, a fluid cavity and the inner mass. Stem cells are found in the inner mass of blastocysts, which are removed and cultured in a culture dish where the stems cells grow over time.