Stem Cell Ethics

Folks apparently are still getting their bloomers in a bundle over the use of embryonic stem cells. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7914976.stm)  Although these cells are perfect and are capable of taking the form of the 200-plus different types of cells present in the human body, scientist find themselves backed into the corner of morality by frothing-at-the-mouth conservatives who argue (big surprise) “that it is unethical to destroy embryos in the name of science.”  It seems that using embryos that would have ended up in the bio-hazard bin for the greater good of humanity is mild compared to the atrocities we humans have committed against each other during our rein on this planet.  Now scientists have discovered a way to develop stem cells from skin cells by implanting them with specific genes.  They are “reprogrammed” genes.  I suppose if scientists were not lynched for using embryonic stem cells, science would be easy.  But since the objection has insisted they find alternative methods, science continues to be resourceful.  Perhaps some day a shred of my elbow dander will cure someone’s cancer.  But first we must determine “whether stem cells reprogrammed from adult cells are truly useful or not.”  Until then, lets give those embryos a job.

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One Response

  1. True that there’s a philosophical debate on the sentience of embryonic tissue and weather or not it is ethical to use stem cells from embryos for research. But left out of most discussions is the fact that stem cells are found present in umbilical cords. I don’t think this would even be an issue if researchers used umbilical cords from hospitals and birthing centers. I would agree that there is some merit that this push to unilaterally ban the use of stem cell research is primarily for political posturing and not much else.

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