to tease apart the myriad critical steps

Wookie

Senior Member
Korea, Korean
By then, Melton's team was one of only a handful in the country working on embryonic stem cells and was making headway in teasing apart the myriad critical steps needed to guide these impressionable cells into becoming insulin-generating cells.

This is from an article in TIME. This is about stem cell research.
What does "tease something apart" mean?
I'd like to know what the underlined phrase means.
 
  • Cypherpunk

    Senior Member
    US, English
    Did you check the dictionary, by any chance?
    It means the same thing, except instead of fibers, they're talking about unraveling the steps in a process (generating a specific cell type, starting with stem cells).
     

    Wookie

    Senior Member
    Korea, Korean
    I looked the word up in the dictionary. I was wondering if that is a kind of metaphor.
    Is "teasing apart steps" a widely used expression?
     

    Wookie

    Senior Member
    Korea, Korean
    What stock phrase or idiom would you use instead of "tease apart"?
    What would be equivalent to "tease apart"?
     
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