Republicans: Human Embryonic Stem Cells Not Needed —National Academy of Sciences Disagrees

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The Republican Party platform advocates a big increase in stem cell research, just not human embryonic stem cell research. In fact, the platform apparently advocates banning both publically and privately funded human embryonic stem cell research:

…we call for a major expansion of support for the stem-cell research that now shows amazing promise and offers the greatest hope for scores of diseases — with adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.

http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/en/bia/images/13.jpg

It is, of course, wonderful news that researchers have developed new sources and kinds of stem cells. So do researchers no longer need to develop and use human embryonic stem cells? Not so fast, says the Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research Advisory Committee of the National Academy of Sciences. The Committee's newly released stem cell research guidelines noted: 

At this time it is still undetermined which stem cell types will prove the most useful for regenerative medicine, as most likely each will have some utility, noted the committee that wrote the report.  Therefore, the need for research with human embryonic stem cells still exists despite the availability of new cell sources.

The NAS guidelines press release here

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  1. We call for a ban on human cloning and a ban on the creation of or experimentation on human embryos for research purposes.

    Fucking fundie Luddite loonies. Good thing the Democrats are so much more enlightened. Right?

  2. You don’t have to be a “fundie” to believe that (1) human life begins at conception and (2) the state has a legitimate interest in protecting that life. I disagree, however, with the proposed ban on human cloning. If someone volunteers for a cloning experiment, that’s his or her business.

  3. hotsauce —

    At conception? No, that pretty much requires lunacy. After implantation and division starts, maybe, we reach the ragged edge of not-fucking-crazyville.

    I agree with you, re: point-the-second, that *if* there is human life, then the state has a legitimate (perhaps not overriding) interest in attempting to protect it.

    And of course cloning is really nobody’s business but the twin.

  4. Where’s my hyroponically raised supply of replacement organs already?

  5. Look, I’m pretty much on the side of embryonic stem cell research (why do we need to fund it publicly though?), but this isn’t even the argument right now. If the other sources of stem cells didn’t exist, pro-lifers would still be against embryonic stem cell research. It’s an ethical issue, not a utilitarian one. To say that scientists want all possible methods available to them is obvious and a non-sequitur.

  6. Elemenope is right. You pretty much have to be a fundie to think that. Either way, still not the government’s business – their power should be strictly limited by the parameters of my body.

    Cloning should certainly be legal. I’d be the first to clone myself for spare parts. Terribly amoral, I know.

    If you oppose these measures, fine. You should also be excluded from the benefits they provide.

  7. What’s so special about implantation?

  8. If you oppose these measures, fine. You should also be excluded from the benefits they provide.

    That’d be fine if people weren’t pushing for public funding.

  9. “Human Life” does not begin at conception.

    In fact, “human life” has no beginning: Living cells split, combine and differentiate to form other living human cells in a continuous process that stretches back into time as far as you want to consider, be that billions of years (the modern scientific worldview), or thousands of years (the bronze age biblical worldview).

    Human personhood is another matter. Individual human persons, unlike human cell lines, are conceived, grow, mature, senesce and die. Individual human beings (as opposed to human cells), are what matter ethically and morally.

    Are cells important, or are human beings important? Can cells think, feel, emote and make moral decisions? Do cells have free will? Are cells to be granted the rights of human persons? If so, when you pick your nose, or scratch a scab, are you committing mass murder? Since every cell which contains your DNA can be reprogrammed to behave like an embryonic stem cell, and grown into a clone of you, what is so special about an embryonic stem cell?

    If you believe in the biblical worldview: Where in the Bible does it say that personhood begins at conception? Chapter and verse, please.

    Or, is the idea that human personhood begins at conception merely a modern interpretation of the Bible? And, if we allow modern interpretations of the Bible, who gets to do the interpreting? And, which version of the Bible shall we start with? The King James version? Or, shall we go back to the earliest version we have, written in languages other than English?

  10. The idea that life begins at conception is an idea invented by a bunch of “church fathers” using thought exercises known as “theology”. The Roman Catholic Church has a lot of philosophical discussion about it. It’s not based in any sort of modern understanding of human biology.

    I think there is a lot of value in having the ethical discussion about when we should start respecting the rights of an individual (I think birth is a little late in the game myself). But I don’t we should rely on arguments rooted in mythology.

  11. I notice the platform is against the creation of embryos for stem cell or other research, but noticably silent on those created for IFV.

    I guess I’ve never seen a protester outside of a fertility clinic with a “murderer” sign, either.

    One more thing- to grant a recently fetilized egg the same legal status as a grown adult human is most definitely an extreme position. If you think a woman who takes emergency contraception has committed murder, you are (thankfully) in the minority.

  12. I think there is a lot of value in having the ethical discussion about when we should start respecting the rights of an individual (I think birth is a little late in the game myself).

    The point of viability would work for me. At that point, a mother can no longer use the “fetus is paying rent” argument to justify *killing it* because the fetus can be removed, thus ceasing the imposition on the mother, without killing it.

    Of course, I think “personhood” attaches around the time you form and utter your first content-laden sentence. But I’m kind of a jerk.

  13. What’s so special about implantation?

    The chances of an average fertilized egg surviving to term increases dramatically if it makes it to uterine implantation.

    Thus leaving crazyville on the notion that it is reasonably a potential life.

  14. The point of viability would work for me. At that point, a mother can no longer use the “fetus is paying rent” argument to justify *killing it* because the fetus can be removed, thus ceasing the imposition on the mother, without killing it.

    If we can perfect that cloning technology that allows us to grow people in vats, then viability would be the same as conception. You could just have that fertilized egg removed and vat grown for someone else to raise.

    To get to this point, however, we will need aggressive cloning research.

    ;^)

  15. Whatever you want to call it, the natural process of becoming a human being begins at conception. The natural, non-abortive failure rate is irrelevant. And I say this as a devout atheist.

    Human action aborting the natural process of implantation, division, growth, etc. is immoral because it violates the non-aggression principle. Only in cases lacking consent can an abortion be viewed as self-defense and morally defensible.

  16. Elemenope,

    …because the fetus can be removed…

    To play devil’s advocate a bit, I think one would have to ask how safely can it be removed?

  17. The idea that life begins at conception is an idea invented by a bunch of “church fathers” using thought exercises known as “theology”. The Roman Catholic Church has a lot of philosophical discussion about it. It’s not based in any sort of modern understanding of human biology.

    And the old testament says “thou shall not kill.” I bet there are hundreds of ideas you would agree with that have religious roots. That doesn’t mean they are all worthless or can’t be supported on other grounds, such as the non-agression principle.

    Hell, the premise of libertarian philosophy is an idea invented by a bunch of “church fathers” someone using thought exercises known as “theology”. The Roman Catholic Church Libertarianism has a lot of philosophical discussion about it. It’s not based in any sort of modern understanding of human biology.

  18. Whatever you want to call it, the natural process of becoming a human being begins at conception.

    Or it occurs at the formation of the human egg and sperm. There are a number of different equally defensible points at which one could claim that “the natural process of becoming human begins…”

  19. What’s so special about implantation?

    Pregnancy is defined by implantation. Without implantation, no pregnancy.

    The point of viability would work for me. At that point, a mother can no longer use the “fetus is paying rent” argument to justify *killing it* because the fetus can be removed, thus ceasing the imposition on the mother, without killing it.

    The point of viability is quite fuzzy. In theory, you can probably move it back to 25-6 weeks, if you’re willing to accept an 8 month ICU stay, and 10 million dollar bill, and a lifetime of disability for the infant.

  20. Whatever you want to call it, the natural process of becoming a human being begins at conception. The natural, non-abortive failure rate is irrelevant. And I say this as a devout atheist.

    Or, it begins well before conception, when your mother’s eggs underwent the first stage of meitic division while she was in utero.

  21. I mean “IVF,” of course.

    Anyway, the discrepency illustrates that for many, this is just as much (if not more) about a state interest in policing acceptable sexuality as an interest in protecting “life.”

  22. Or it occurs at the formation of the human egg and sperm. There are a number of different equally defensible points at which one could claim that “the natural process of becoming human begins…”

    Or, it begins well before conception, when your mother’s eggs underwent the first stage of meitic division while she was in utero.

    Why not go all the way back to big bang? Cuz that’s when you and me and everyone else became human beings, right? All at the same time!

    You’re a human being with a lifespan. It ends when you die. It begins at some moment different from everyone else. How do we determine when that is? Well, how about starting with what makes you unique?

    As far as I know, your unique genetic makeup is set at conception. This alone is powerful evidence, but once you add to it the fact that the natural process of growth and development also begins at this moment the question of when legally and morally recognizable life begins becomes a no-brainer. I can’t believe so many well-informed libertarians don’t understand this basic logic.

  23. Pregnancy is defined by implantation. Without implantation, no pregnancy.

    Another red herring. The issue is not when someone becomes pregrant. It’s when does life/personhood begin (which triggers questions of legal and moral obligations).

  24. hotsauce,

    You’re a human being with a lifespan. It ends when you die.

    Not according to certain religious beliefs.

    This alone is powerful evidence, but once you add to it the fact that the natural process of growth and development also begins at this moment the question of when legally and morally recognizable life begins becomes a no-brainer.

    If one accepts those two variables as you have defined them as the most important factors in defining when “life begins,” that is true. First of all, I have no idea how “unique” an individual human being is genetically; nor how unique a human being must be to fit this definition. Second of all, simply stating that the natural process of growth and development starts at the point you contend that it does, well, it doesn’t make it so.

    In sum, I think that there are reasonable disagreements on this issue. I have as yet to be dissuaded otherwise.

  25. You’re a human being with a lifespan. It ends when you die. It begins at some moment different from everyone else.

    Twins, identical – or triplets, for that matter.

    Unfortunately, it’s not that easy to determine from first principles, when a human being begins to be a person, if you take DNA or the physical body as the uniquely defining element of personhood.

    You are not your DNA. If you think personhood is defined by DNA, then you get the myriad contradictions we see today in trying to understand when human life begins and ends. See twins, above.

    Ironically, DNA-as-person is a modern, materialist concept that has been grafted onto the ancient dualistic mind/body idea of personhood that is the basis of western religious traditions. It appears the mashup of these two incompatible ideas is leading to significant confusion.

    Time for a serious rethink of our premises underlying our concepts of personhood.

  26. As far as I know, your unique genetic makeup is set at conception. This alone is powerful evidence, but once you add to it the fact that the natural process of growth and development also begins at this moment the question of when legally and morally recognizable life begins becomes a no-brainer. I can’t believe so many well-informed libertarians don’t understand this basic logic.

    Really? We don’t understand “this basic logic.”

    My unique genetic makeup is set at conception you say? Unique? Really?

    And if I happened to be one of a pair of identical twins? The division producing identical twins happens _after_ conception, meaning that the conception event (or process, since it consists of many steps occurring over a period of more than a decade) actually produces more than one individual.

    Neither with a unique genetic identity. And yet, a pair of identical twins does consist of two separate, and frequently quite different, individuals.

    So, obviously, conception is not the point at which we become a unique individual.

  27. Another red herring. The issue is not when someone becomes pregrant. It’s when does life/personhood begin (which triggers questions of legal and moral obligations).

    The question was why implantation was important, the answer being that implantation initiates pregnancy, and without pregnancy, you cannot, by definition, have an abortion. So hypothetical birth control measures that allow conception but not implantation cannot technically be abortion by strict definition, although some groups use non-medical definitions of abortion.

  28. Not according to certain religious beliefs.

    So now you’ve resorted to religious appeal to score points. That would be laughable if it weren’t so ironic.

    I have no idea how “unique” an individual human being is genetically

    And now you’re arguing with the entire scientific community.

    Second of all, simply stating that the natural process of growth and development starts at the point you contend that it does, well, it doesn’t make it so.

    If you can disprove this simple fact, be my guest. Others on this thread have tried and failed. Immediately after conception, the body begins the natural process of implantation, division, growth, etc. No human action or intervention is needed. The process begins in earnest and does so naturally.

  29. So, obviously, conception is not the point at which we become a unique individual.

    Even taking this position, conception is the moment in which at least one person’s life begins. Aborting it/them still violates the non-aggression principle.

  30. The question was why implantation was important, the answer being that implantation initiates pregnancy, and without pregnancy, you cannot, by definition, have an abortion. So hypothetical birth control measures that allow conception but not implantation cannot technically be abortion by strict definition, although some groups use non-medical definitions of abortion.

    I don’t think we’re talking strictly about abortion post-implantation. I’m arguing that a human being (or multiple human beings taking Taco’s point into consideration) worthy of legal and moral protection begins his or her life at conception. This is because, primarily, this is moment at which the body begins the natural process of implantation, division, growth, etc. There are no clear lines before conception. And aside from birth or death, there are no clear lines after conception. I have yet to hear a convincing argument as to why implantation matters other than that it’s a necessary step in the process.

  31. “I’d be the first to clone myself for spare parts.”

    Does your clone get a say in what’s done with his parts?

  32. “At this time it is still undetermined which stem cell types will prove the most useful for regenerative medicine, as most likely each will have some utility, noted the committee that wrote the report.”

    Actually, it is quite unlikely that embryonic stem cells will be of practical use in rgenerative medicine. There will not be enough of them available, ever. A few weeks ago Kerry Howley posted a story about how their was a shortage available for research in California because it was not allowed for women to be paid money to donate ova for research. Even with pay, it is unlikely that enough women would donate for research in large enough quantities to make large scale therapy techniques feasible (even if some such techniques are found). Increasingly, it looks as if embryonic stem cells are a dead end for therapies for practical and logistical reasons. Why continue to push for an such ethically problematic source?

  33. hot sauce,

    So now you’ve resorted to religious appeal to score points.

    I didn’t realize I was involved in a sport where points were being scored. What I am suggesting is that different people come to different conclusions on that issue, and often those conclusions are based on religious tenents.

    That would be laughable if it weren’t so ironic.

    It isn’t laughable, nor is it ironic, it is just the nature of the diversity of the human understanding of the issue.

    And now you’re arguing with the entire scientific community.

    No, I’m telling you I have no idea how unique each individual is, nor how unique they have to be to fit into your view on the subject.

    If you can disprove this simple fact, be my guest.

    It mustn’t be that “simple” of a fact if there is so much disagreement about it.

    Immediately after conception, the body begins the natural process of implantation, division, growth, etc.

    Or it doesn’t do so. As I understand it conception need not lead to a viable pregnancy.

    There are no clear lines before conception.

    Only because of the unique role you’ve assigned to conception. I’m just not quite sure why a fertilized human egg is by itself an entity worthy of all this protection you apparently wish to give it. It doesn’t, for example, have the ability to feel pain (no nervous system), it cannot reason, etc.

    I think essentially what your argument doesn’t address for me in a satisfactory way is exactly how we are define what a human being is. Is it something like you’ve proposed – this sequence of DNA which exists from the moment of conception – or is that merely a potential human being? Further, clear lines are great and all, but what if they engender more questions than they answer?

  34. “I’d be the first to clone myself for spare parts.”

    Does your clone get a say in what’s done with his parts?

    No, it doesn’t, because it’s not a person, it doesn’t have a brain, body, mouth, or even self awareness, because “your clone” is a mass of cells growing in a petri dish.

  35. hot sauce wrote:
    “This is because, primarily, this is moment at which the body begins the natural process of implantation, division, growth, etc.”

    One thing to keep it mind is that implantation is NOT automatic. I forget the percentage, but w/o any intervention a good number of zygotes will not. This is also ‘natural’…
    So are miscarriages.
    OTOH are fertility drugs, in vitro, or intensive care for premature babies ‘natural’?

    Seward wrote:
    “I’m just not quite sure why a fertilized human egg is by itself an entity worthy of all this protection you apparently wish to give it. It doesn’t, for example, have the ability to feel pain (no nervous system), it cannot reason, etc.”

    Bingo…
    There is some anthropomorphizing that occurs here it seems. Making a crude “Matrix” analogy; it is ludicrous to think one can ‘download’ an adult consciousness into a 9 month fetus, let alone a zygote. However emotionally powerful a beating heart is, it’s an intellectually primitive measure meaning nothing. Think about cardiac patients and deliberate medical heart stoppage for a moment.

    One clear line that can possibly be drawn with non aggression is when this ‘being’ can feel pain. Somewhere around week 29 the final ‘connections’ are made between the tactile nerves and the brain.
    Someone can make a valid argument against ‘partial birth’ methods at least.

    Yes conception is a clear line but ‘running the clock back’ also opens up the can of worms that equates some contraception (pill, IUD) to abortion.
    Emotional arguments about intent can trip up many a red blooded (and state) american male lookin’ to get laid … i’ve met few that will ‘walk the walk’ at this heated juncture.

  36. Ignorant embryonic supporters.

    The simple fact is, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS) make embyronic stem cells obsolete. From the ‘fathers’ of the embyronic branch of the discipline:

    Sir Martin Evans : “This will be the long-term solution.”
    (Dr. Evans is the man who 1st isloated embryonic stem cells in 1981 and winner of this year’s Nobel Prize in Medicine)

    Dr. Ian Wilmut: “”this is the future of stem cell research: and it’s “100 times more interesting.”
    (Dr. Wilmut cloned Dolly, now has given up on SCNT because he “believes a rival method pioneered in Japan has better potential for making human embryonic cells which can be used to grow a patient’s own cells and
    tissues for a vast range of treatments.)

    Dr. John Gearhart “I think this is the future of stem cell research,”
    (the biologist who first discovered human fetal embryonic stem cells).

    Dr. James Thompson: “A decade from now, this [hES controversy] will be just a funny historical footnote,” “Isn’t it great to start a field and then to end it?”
    (1st to grow human embryonic stem cell lines in 1998 AND who reprogrammed skin to ’embryonic’ in the US)

    Within months of their discovery, they cured Parkinson’s and sickle cell – and can be made without cancer-causing agents. Human diseases are studied in ways embryonic cells can’t allow

    Search ClinicalTrials.gov for 1000+ studies treating people today. None are embryonic, perhaps because, as Scientific American reported, “Embryonic stem cells, unlike adult stem cells, cannot be used directly in therapy because they cause cancer. ”

    Come into this century and see what is ‘the future’ – anti-God/pro-choice ideologies have clouded too many’s eyes/minds … look at current research, instead.

  37. I understand the libertarian position on public funding, but it is a little more complex then that. Under current rules, no facility that does stem cell research can receive public funding for ANY research. The stem cell work must be done in a separate building with separate staff and organization. It’s not just no funding for research, it’s no conceivable connection with any public funding no matter how remote.

  38. Minerva wrote:
    “Ignorant embryonic supporters?”

    Way to win hearts and minds?

    Minerva wrote:
    “? anti-God/pro-choice ideologies have clouded too many’s eyes/minds …”

    Umm, anti-God? Maybe anti theocracy. I’ll accept that label …

    So, does anyone think Mary Hines; editor of this site Local Area Watch..is perhaps involved in CureMI which Minerva links to?

    Can we assume the site is a counter to CureMichigan?

  39. That fact that some do not make it to birth does not disprove the fact that the process begins in earnest after conception. Some fail naturally, like an old man who dies of natural causes.

  40. As a scientist, I have read many journal articles on the effects of stem cell implantation on, well, just about everything. The problem that I have with stem cell research (and science in general) is that most of the science is just plain BAD SCIENCE. For those of you who don’t know…here is what is done using spinal cord research as an example:

    1. Scientist cuts the spinal cord of usually a rat or a cat.
    2. Scientist implants a substance (x) into the broken area.
    3. Scientists waits to see what happens.
    4. Scientist publishes a paper on the “Effects of x on recovery of function after spinal cord injury”.

    Now, here are the problems:
    1. We do not understand the basic “normal” physiology of the system under healthy conditions, let alone under injured conditions.

    2. Often substance x seems like it is pulled from a hat. I have sat through seminars thinking, “when is the paper going to come out looking at the effects of jello on recovery of function after spinal cord injury?”. Yes, it is that bad.

    So, it seems to me like scientists, including myself, are trying to “jump the gun” so to speak. Everyone wants to find “the cure”, without first understanding the normal physiology of the system they are studying. It is kind of like trying to fix a TV without understanding how the TV works. You may get lucky, but most likely you will have to go out and buy a new TV! I have been very turned off in general with how science works. Have you noticed any big “cures” lately? No, and there is a reason why that is so. More NIH funding does not equal better science. The truth is that we are just not ready for stem cell research. We must first understand normal physiological conditions, and we simply do not.

  41. Obama’s lip stick / pig remark … and, Biden’s unsavory children with special needs remarks show us what a couple of creeps these two candidates are. In lieu of Sarah Palin’s comment about hockey moms, pit bulls and lip stick, Obama’s lip stick/ pig remark was extremely demeaning. Even though I am not an Obama supporter, at least I thought he had some degree of class and sophistication. He can try to cover his tracks by saying that the lip stick remark was not directed towards Governor Palin, but anyone with half a brain knows that’s exactly what he meant. I think Obama knows his campaign is in real trouble, and that’s why he’s stooping to such desperate, insulting and distasteful attacks. Obama is definitely not Presidential material.

  42. If the state ahas an overriding interest in protecting life, then why aren’t we all protecterd wjhile we ARE really alive with a universal, state run health care system?
    Why doesn’t god take care of all our needs? Did he privatize that part of his job to the US health care industry. Blue Cross, Summa? Maybe to the president of the USA. He does talk to him after all. Lets ask him who is in charge of healthcare.
    We will all die waiting for an answer to that question. Expecting god to answer a question is like asking a repubican to explain their arguments.
    You will never get an honest answer.I don’t think god believes in science anyway. He is too busy watching NASCAR.

  43. Universal health care is fine if you don’t mind waiting two years to see a doctor. Most cancers spread faster than that, so by the time you actually got to see your “free” doctor you would be half dead anyway. Doctors would not get paid as much money and so less people would want to become doctors. Take it from someone who knows…no American would go throgh the hell that is med school, residencies, sleep deprivation, ect…unless there are some big bucks invloved in the end. People need to get more realistic about this. Universal health care would NEVER work in America.

  44. Are conservatives insane? How many times have I heard a consrevative squeak about unanted pregnancy? It’s always: “They should’ve thought about that before they dropped thier pants”, meaning the process to create a person begins when people get naked NOT when egg and sperm join. Before the egg and sperm join are they not alive? Are the egg and sperm not human? Human life comes from human lives, not all of a sudden when egg and sperm join. These people are NUTS!

  45. Thanks for all the brilliance, truly. What some of you are missing however is what a dumpster full of chopped up dead babies looks like (remember the pics in your hs health class text book, or did you skip that class?) Most of the “moderate middle” looks forward to a time when citizens are more responsible, don’t get pregnant when they don’t want kids. Meantime, we really must do something about the wholesale slaughter- reasonable excuses, ideas, needs, problems at the very very beginning of “personhood” and who has what rights are legit and need to be worked out. Killing an unwanted baby / fetus that actually looks like a person, and their parts could be sold for research and/or identified at the bottom of the dumpster as, say an arm, or a head, well that makes almost all of us sad, disappointed(waste)and ashamed. If your not included in that sentiment, your the one who’s nuts. Stop abortion as birth control. “Do unto others…” Glad they didn’t use you/r embryo? Right, thank you. One more Dem. for McCain / Palin (she’ll talk to him about the embryo’s all you confident genious’s think will solve death)

  46. Have a kid with autism too, I am supporter of stem cell research, genetic engineering will ultimately play a part in cures for lot of diseases from cancer to growing new limbs. Either we do it or China/India/ N Korea do it. The opponents of abortion: life is life when its viable to survive. Frozen embroys will ultimately be thrown away either tomorrow or 200 years in the future. Use them to get something good. By the way why send your kid to kill other people in other countries if you care so much about life

    Also the difference between a chimpanzee genes and human is about 1 percent. So as we get more into genetic research and changing out gene structure (its going to happen whether you like it or not) how are you going to define a human what genetic structure should the person have (Hitler tried to define it to)

  47. Cells Reprogrammed into Pluripotent Stem Cells

    Stem cells are able to be created using a “second generation” embryonic stem cell technology. Take an adult skin cell, introduce a small number of genes which direct the “committed” adult skin cell to revert all the way back to an embryonic stem cell.

    The technology was first developed/reported in Japan. It’s was independently confirmed at Harvard because they’ve got a lot of private money to do the work. Initial work had been done with mouse embryonic stem cells and mouse skin cells “turned back” to embryonic stem cells.

    It is hardly a remarkable event. All cells from a single individual have the same DNA. It’s only a matter of controlling which part of the total DNA is active. There is no reason a cell can’t be reprogrammed to return to precisely the state it was in which it was a primitive embryonic stem cell or the original stem cell – the fertilized egg itself.

    No matter how anyone wants to interpret it, this “second generation” technology embryonic stem cell would have the same genetic material and the same capabilities as the “first generation” technology embryonic stem cell. The cells are created by going backwards, introducing a handful of gene to reprogram the DNA of an adult cell, so that the cell reverts back to the state of a newly fertilized egg.

    It would be the same cell as it was at the time it was a newly fertilized egg. It would genetically be an identical twin, a clone of the originial fertilized egg. In every sense of the word, it has the same potential for developing into a baby.

    In terms of them being 100% identical, save for the 4 extraneous genes introduced to turn the non-pluripotent skin (somatic) cell back into a true embryonic stem cell, these genes would either silence themselves spontaneously or could be silenced using already available technology like RNA interference.

    This is Second Generaton Embryonic Stem Cell Technology. The scientific wing of the Catholic Church has not figured this out yet and is basically embracing this Second Generation Embryonic Stem Cell Technology as a fig leaf for withdrawing from the stem cell wars, which is a Genie that has forever escaped from the bottle.

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