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Thread: What's the deal with SCR?

  1. #1 What's the deal with SCR? 
    Forum Junior epidecus's Avatar
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    Stem cell research... I understand it's involved a lot in politics and ethics, but I haven't really given it much thought.

    Thank my ignorance for asking this, but just to make sure... It basically involves taking an unborn human, a fetus, and uses its cells for biological research?

    And regarding ethics, this is a big deal because some people consider this murder, while others argue differently. Correct?


    Last edited by epidecus; September 4th, 2012 at 05:27 PM. Reason: Typo
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  3. #2  
    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    Stem cell research can be done with any type of stem cell. Stem cells can be taken from adults as well, such as from bone marrow, for example.
    Issues arise when the stem cells of interest are embryonic stem cells. These cells are taken from a very early stage embryo rather than a fetus, with the embryo being destroyed during the process.


    The argument is basically about whether an embryo can be regarded as a human life or not. Some people belive that a human life begins right at the moment of conception, so destroying an embryo is equivalent to murder. I don't see the biological justification for this view myself when you consider that the embryos being used are little more than a ball of around 100 cells.


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  4. #3  
    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    With more research, possible replacements for embryonic cells are being investigated. It could eliminate the conflict.

    I also don't see the conflict, but that's politics and science for you.
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  5. #4  
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    In the US, the debate is not about legalizing the procedure. It is legal, as is abortion. It is about funding the research with public money, thereby forcing dissenting individuals to subsidize the research with their tax dollars. Sometimes this distinction tends to get lost.
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    Life-Size Nanoputian Flick Montana's Avatar
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    Very true. The problem the general public is seeing is the stygma placed upon stem cell research. Opponents have demonized it for quite some time. It experienced many of the same kinds of fear-tactic opposition that environmental sciences are facing now. Hopefully, this will pass as we continue to try to educate the public.
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    Forum Junior epidecus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zwirko View Post
    The argument is basically about whether an embryo can be regarded as a human life or not. Some people belive that a human life begins right at the moment of conception, so destroying an embryo is equivalent to murder. I don't see the biological justification for this view myself when you consider that the embryos being used are little more than a ball of around 100 cells.
    I see. I've had to do papers on abortion before, but surprisingly I never deeply connected it with stem cell research. Though abortion is somewhat a different topic, it seems to involve the same issue of treating unborn humans as life or not.

    I'll tend to agree with you that the murder notion is not supported from a biological standpoint. An embryo surely is not a conscious being that can experience pain/suffering?
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    Forum Junior epidecus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Harold14370 View Post
    In the US, the debate is not about legalizing the procedure. It is legal, as is abortion. It is about funding the research with public money, thereby forcing dissenting individuals to subsidize the research with their tax dollars. Sometimes this distinction tends to get lost.
    Okay, thanks. I'm not surprised that people don't like sending their tax dollars to fund (what they believe to be) murder.
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  9. #8  
    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by epidecus View Post
    It basically involves taking an unborn human, a fetus, and uses its cells for biological research?
    Technically, not a fetus but a blastocyst.

    The Nobel prize for medicine this year went to Gurdon and Yamanaka for their work in getting stem cells from adult cells.
    Cloning and stem cell Nobel for Gurdon and Yamanaka - life - 08 October 2012 - New Scientist
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  10. #9  
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    I'd thought that stem cells are pretty easily obtained from newborn umbilical cord blood. Many countries are beginning to set up publicly funded cord blood banks (it may be invaluable to an individual later in life), and collection will become just another routine procedure. Surely some of this could be diverted to research without additional cost to taxpayers.
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  11. #10  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
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    Yes, Pong is correct. We use cord blood in the States as well.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Junior epidecus's Avatar
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    So there are no methods of extracting stem cells from a blastocyst/embryo without actually destroying it?
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  13. #12  
    Forum Junior JoshuaL's Avatar
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    Not yet. A blastocyst is only made up of a few cells to begin with.
    "The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is... doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting sh*t dead wrong."

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