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Stem Cell Research Essay

1202 words - 5 pages

There are many questions regarding stem cell research. What are they? Why are they important? Where do you get them? How can they be used? What ethical issues have they brought up among us? Stem cell research is a very controversial, yet promising study.
“Stem cells are like little kids who, when they grow up, can enter a variety of professions. A child might become a fireman, a doctor, or a plumber, depending on the influences in their life- or environment. In the same way, these stem cells can become many tissues by making certain changes in their environment” (Parks 8).
A stem cell is an undifferentiated cell that is able to regenerate itself into another type of cell. Stem cell research began with the discovery of cells in 1665, when Robert Hooke recognized cells as the basic unit of life. In 1827, Karl Ernst von Baer says that mammalian life begins with the insemination of an egg. Later, in 1838, Matthias Jakob Schleiden states that the basic structure of all plants is the cell. The following year, in 1839, Theodor Schwann declares that cells are also the basic structural unit of all animals, constituting, together with Schleiden’s discovery, the beginning of cell theories. In 1855, Rudolf Virchow states an essential law of cell behavior: “all cells come from existing cells”. Years later, S. L. Schenk tries to fertilize a human egg outside the human body, in 1878. His attempt fails, but becomes the first recorded work to accomplish ex utero fertilization. In 1902, Gottlieb Haberlandt suggests the idea of totipotency for plant cells (every cell in a mature plant has the ability to change back to embryonic form that can grow and differentiate into every cell the plant is made of). In 1909, Alexander A. Maximow predicts the existence of immature cells within bone marrow, calling them common stem cells. His hypothesis is principally rejected and disregarded for approximately 50 years. In 1928, Hans Spemann executes the first somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) experiment, relocating the nucleus of one salamander to the egg cell of another salamander without a nucleus. He was later awarded the 1935 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The first successful bone marrow transplant on a human was led by E. Donnall Thomas in 1956. In 1958 Frederick C. Steward conducts an experiment displaying that a differentiated somatic plant cell can revert to a totipotent form that can redifferentiate and develop. In 1961, Daniele Petrucci conducts a successful in vitro fertilization, being one of the first to do so. He then destroyed the embryo, stating that the embryo had become a “monstrosity”, and due to ethical issues. In1962, John B. Gurdon executes the first successful cloning of an animal. In 1968, Robert Edwards and Barry Bavister successfully fertilize a human egg with human sperm in a petri dish, providing extremely important information that would later be used for in vitro fertilization. In 1974, the National Research Act is passed, telling basic...

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