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Wharton's Jelly is the primitive connective tissue of the umbilical cord. First named by Thomas Wharton in 1656 this gelatinous substance's function is to provide support for the vein and arteries of the umbilical cord. During early development of the embryo, perhaps as early as day 3.5 - 7.5E, primitive multipotent stem cells also known as umbilical cord matrix cells (UCM) migrate from the aortic-gonadotropin-mesonephric region in the hind gut of the developing embryo, forming the fetal liver through the allantois/umbilical cord. These primitive mesenchymal-like cells therefore are trapped at very early embryological age and retain the properties of primitive stem cells. Stem cells for the Wharton's Jelly can be extracted postnatally with great ease. Wharton's Jelly is also sometimes referred to as Cord Tissue.


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