Friday, October 10, 2008

New stem cell research: "babies no longer required"

Two MAJOR leaps in stem cell research have been achieved, and published. In the past the only source for stem cells was from dead embryos, which caused many a-folk to be outraged by this use for "potential" (given, dead) babies. The moral, philosophical and scientific discussion aside, it just became much more interesting.

A year-old research declared skin cells can now be reprogrammed to act as stem cells. A new research declares stem cells can be extracted from testicles.
Study co-author Thomas Skutella, of the University of T├╝bingen in Baden-W├╝rttemberg, Germany, and his team isolated stem cells from adult, human testicles and cultivated them to become pluripotent cells, which can develop into many other types of cells.
While it was clear to me no ban can really stop research with such immense impact on humanity,(as well as a monetary impact on whoever holds the rights) this discovery is predicted to stop the opposition to stem cell research in its tracks. That may not be the case.

The
main moral objection is that "potential humans" (babies) were used, which is no longer the case, colourful language aside. Researchers have now shown that is no longer an issue (although naturally, further research is required).

The thing is, the opposition's argument is likely to change. It is true, "potential humans" will no longer (if the research holds water) be used, but the "don't play God argument" is about to be more strongly introduced.

These stem cells can just as easily be used to CREATE babies, and that is something the true opposition won't stand for, even if they were willing to give ground on it before.

Others may realize the huge impact on humanity this research will have, or changed their minds by now due to unfortunate personal or family medical experience. There will always be an opposition, or 20. That's what so beautiful about human society--the diversity.

Gadi Evron,
ge@linuxbox.org.



Follow me on twitter! http://twitter.com/gadievron

No comments: