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October 17, 2005

New Stem Cell Technique Leaves The Embryo Viable

Topics: Stem Cells

stemcells.jpeg [A new technique for deriving stem cells could do more than just provide new lines for research. It might allow every child born through preimplantation genetic testing to have its own line of embryonic cells banked for the future.]

Researchers have devised two new techniques designed to alleviate ethical concerns over embryonic stem cells. In one, the cells are derived without the need to destroy an embryo, the principal objection of anti-abortion advocates who have strenuously opposed federal financing of the research. The other technique makes a skin cell revert to the embryonic state in a way that prevents the embryo from implanting in the uterus.

Both techniques, described in the online edition of Nature, have been developed in mice and have yet to be adapted to people, but the two species are very similar at this level of embryonic development. According to Representative Roscoe Bartlett, Republican of Maryland, the first of the new techniques offers a way around most of the ethical arguments except for a "small minority of the pro-life community that doesn't even support in vitro fertilization." However, other ethical concerns may need to be addressed before the new techniques would have the support of the Roman Catholic Church.

Posted by Richard at October 17, 2005 6:48 PM

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