Few advances in modern science have generated as much excitement and public debate as the discovery of human embryonic stem cells (hESC). The debate over the use of embryonic stem cells in research has polarized the global community along the lines of those who argue that such research holds the promise of medical breakthroughs for many currently incurable diseases and ailments, while opponents condemn such research as it involves the destruction of a potential human life and is seen as humanity “playing God”. There are no clear cut answers to the moral debate concerning this particular area of stem cell research. At the core of the debate lies the ethical question of which is the more valuable; the life of a human being suffering from a fatal illness or life threatening injury, or the life of a potential human being? These are the difficult questions faced by both the scientists engaged in the research, the legislators who define the laws governing such research and the public as a whole. While many agree that embryonic stem cell research has the potential of developing treatments for a number of afflictions that affect humankind, if such research cannot be performed without the the cost of destroying a life it should therefore not be pursued.
Experimentation with embryonic stem cells has become an important breakthrough in current medical research. Why is this? According to Medical News Today, these embryonic stem cells are considered the most useful for research due to their pluripotent nature (MNT, July 2013). What this means according the National Institutes of Health Stem Cell Information Center, is that embryonic stem cells are considered to be unspecialized or master cells. Being unspecialized or “undifferentiated” in sci...
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... S. Fundamentals of the Stem Cell Debate: The Scientific, Religious, Ethical, and Political Issues. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008. Print.
Mukhopadhyay, C. S., Jayanti Tokas, and P. D. Mathur. "Prospects and Ethical Concerns of Embryonic Stem Cells Research-A Review." Veterinary World 4.6 (2011): 281-6. Print.
Ruiz-Canela, Miguel. “Embryonic Stem Cell Research: The Relevance of Ethics in the Progress of Science.” Med Sci Monit, 2002; 8(5) (2002): SR21-26. Print.
“Stem Cell Information Center.” National Institutes of Health. 2009. Web.
Steinbock, Bonnie. “The Science, Policy, and Ethics of Stem Cell Research.” Reproductive BioMedicine Online, Vol.14. Supplement 1. (2007): 130-136. Print.
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