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Stem Cell Controversy Essay

1203 words - 5 pages

Scientist have cloned a sheep and named her Dolly. They have also created "designer" eggs cloned for chicken eggs and have grown an ear on a mouse. Now they want to grow human cells and organs from embryos. Although these hold great promise of what we can learn and do in medicine however it can be a little frightening. Are we going to far? Is there a line we need to be careful not to cross in order to avoid a hellish apocalypse? The latest biological/medical advances are in the field of stem-cell research. This issue sparks wide spread controversy whenever mentioned. This complex issue has divided the members of our political parties and pitted the scientific community against religious leaders.Harvesting stem cells destroys the embryo, which entangles this issue with the debate of abortion. It comes down to whether or the embryo is human being. Does it have a soul? These are some of the ethical questions surrounding the issue. Our government is secular so it shouldn't matter is these programs are federally funded. Stem cells have the potential to develop into any type of cell within the body. All of us start from a single cell, which is formed when the egg cell and sperm cell are joined. From that point differentiation begins, dividing the cells and allowing them to become specific types of cells. After four or five days of development cells are pluripotnet meaning they can form virtually every cell in the body but no longer can form human beings on their own. For that very reason scientist protest that nothing is being killed is it cannot produce life.An alternative to the use of embryos is adult stem cells. Adult stem cells can also be used and no one is ethically opposed to using them. Since these cells are from your body your immune system is less likely to reject them. However, there are disadvantages to using adult cells. The cells are more mature than that of the embryos and cannot form all the cells of the body which limits the number of diseases that can be treated or cured from this research. A second problem is finding the stem cells out of the billions of cells in the grown human body. Finally, these cells also grow much slower that those of the embryos thereby wasting time. Another topic of controversy is how the embryos used for research are gotten. Some are leftover embryos from vitro fertilization. Firing up the debate are scientists from Virginia who have created embryos specifically for extracting the stem cells.From Crawford Texas, Aug. 9, President Bush made his first televised address to the nation. He announced that 60 stem lines already existed and no longer have the chance to find to create human life. "I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for research on these existing stem cell lines, where the life-and- death decision has already been made." (Bush) He chose the middle ground between those who believe stem cell research can lead to medical advances to treat a variety of illnesses against those...

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