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The ability of a cell to differentiate into a limited number of cell types or into closely related family of cells.


Progenitor cells show multipotency in a way that they can give rise to many but limited types of cell. For example, a hematopoietic cell can give rise to several types of blood cells but not into brain cells or other types of cells.

Word origin: multi- » Latin multus, much, many + -potence » from Latin potentia, power, capacity.
Related forms: multipotent (adjective).

Compare: unipotence, pluripotence, totipotence.
See also: potency.