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The Heated Debate Concerning Stem Cell Research Essay

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The Controversy Over Stem Cell Research


In a lab at the University of California, a scientist carefully isolates several cells and locates them to a petry dish. A few days later, he returns to find the cells pulsating like a human heart (Gorman 58). This account has actually been occurring at several scientific labs across the nation. These cells, known as stem cells, produce nearly all the other cells and tissues found in the human body (Sobel Sep 4, 22). Intensive research has found that when these stem cells are grafted with human tissue, new tissue is formed and the diseases found in that tissue are cured. These diseases can include Parkinson's, diabetes, and multiple sclerosis (Gorman 58).

Embryonic stem cells hold the greatest potential for medicinal research and breakthroughs. They can develop into 210 different tissues found throughout the body. The process is actually not that complicated. However, the only problem is controlling the type of cells that the stem cells evolve into. When the stem cells are harvested, the embryo is seven days old. The stem cells are extracted from a blastocyst, which is four normal cells contained in a sphere. After being harvested, the stem cells are grown in cultures where they become more specialized tissues such as nerve cells and liver cells (Gorman 58).

Why is this topic so controversial? Stem cell research is disputed because the cells are taken from human embryos. When the cells are extracted from an embryo, the embryo dies. This is why antiabortionist activists, some Congressmen, and the Vatican condemn stem cell research. To these people and several others, conducting stem cell research is equivalent to committing murder, since they consider the embryos to be alive (Sobe...


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...ng for research on sixty embryos (cnn.com). It seems that a course of action has already been decided with this decision, but people will still be able to contest further federal funding on embryos. This is why Gary Varvel has drawn this cartoon. It expresses that fact that embryonic stem cell research is only to lead humanity to uncivilized ways.

There is an alternative to embryonic stem cell research. Adults also have stem cells, so research can be conducted on these. Research on adult stem cells does not result in the death of anything. The excuse that the scientists use is that adult stem cells do not hold the same potential as embryonic stem cells, but research has not been conducted on the adult cells. The scientists should experiment with adult stem cells to determine if there is a difference in the outcome between embyonic stem cells and adult stem cells.


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