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Stem Cell Research Essay

1675 words - 7 pages

What is a Stem Cell?ResearchEthical IssuesUsesProsConsReferencesStem cells are usually very early stage cells which have the capacity to form into any specialised types of cells. Stem cell usually fall into one of three categories, these are;* Embryonic stem cells - These are unclassified stem cells which are derived from a human embryo. These stem cells are particularly useful and controversial. They are unclassified which means that can be transformed into any type of cell, e.g. liver cells, skin cells, nerve cells. They are also controversial because obtaining them includes destroying a human embryo.* Adult stem cells - Adult stem cells are stem cells, which are derived from specific cells and therefore are limited in there use. Adult stem cells are less controversial because they are able to be used without destroying what some people consider to be a human life, but they are restricted in the ways they can be used because they are classified cells.* Umbilical cord stem cells - When a child is born, the umbilical cord attached to them can often contain some unclassified stem cells. These can be frozen and stored by a company and are particularly useful if the child has problems later in life.ResearchStem cells have been around forever but serious research into them and their uses has only been around since 1998. Stem cell research has also been limited by ethical and cost issues.Embryonic stem cells are required in two ways. The first is way of extraction is using fertilized embryos from fertility clinics. Usually there are leftover embryos when couples are tying to have a child. These in many cases are discarded so many scientist argue that using them for research is no different. The second way is therapeutic cloning. This is where a cell from the person who needs the stem cell and an egg from the donor are merged. Then the donor's nucleus is removed and replaced by the recipient's nucleus. The egg is then divided and cells that are leftover have the recipient's genetic information and therefore have less chance of rejection from the recipient's body. Requiring adult stem cells are far more difficult. Extracting adult stem cells are harder because they not only need to be extracted from human tissues, but finding cells is quiet difficult as well.Another key issue in stem cell research is cost. Currently in Australia scientists are not receiving any government funding towards stem cell research. Although in countries such as Singapore, South Korea, United Kingdom, China and Japan stem cell research is certified and funded, to a degree. Company's such as Sydney based Cryosite offer storage of umbilical cord stem cells, although this can be rather expensive.Findings of stem cells so far have only really scratched the surface. It will be a few decades before stem cell therapy is widespread. Scientist only real findings about embryonic stem cells so far are that they have caused major ethical issues. Adult stem cells have less chance of...

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