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Re: [Channel-talkbio] Unit 7 Genetics of Development

From: Mary Johnston <mjohnston@haverhill-ps.org>
Date: Fri Feb 16 2007 - 10:50:49 EST



Dear Karen,
      I found this unit on the genetics of development to be quite
interesting and controversial. In terms of research it seems that
embryonic stem cells are the most useful. They can differentiate into
many more cell types. They are easy to grow in large numbers in the lab
and hold much promise in the treatment of many illnesses and medical
conditions including Parkinson's disease, diabetes, and leukemia.
However, in the harvesting of these cells, the embryo and thus a
potential person are detsroyed. Adult stem cells are much harder to
grow in large amounts and cannot differentiate into as many different
cell types. It is my opinion that research on existing cell lines
should continue as directed by the Bush administration, but the
destruction of embryos for the sole purpose of research should not be
allowed. We could be destroying a human being that actually does
discover the cure for cancer or HIV or any number of diseases. At the
same time, we must be reasonable and allow medicine to advance, so those
embryos that are already marked for destruction such as in unused
in-vitro fertilization procedures should at least have some useful
     The key to this whole issue really is figuring out how to get adult
stem cells to become pluripotent. I have heard in the news that
researchers are making great strides in this research. Therefore, I
think that in the future the stem cell debate will not be an issue
because scientists will have figured out how to use adult stem cells
more prominently in their research. How do you feel?
Mary Johnston

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Received on Fri Feb 16 11:27:59 2007


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