The Good and Bad of Stem Cell Research

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Date Submitted: 05/20/2012 12:46 PM

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The Good and Bad of Stem Cell Research

Marcia Ray

One of the most controversial debates today is with the origination of stem cells. There are people for and against the use of stem cells in research, especially if the cells are from an embryo. There are two main types of stem cells; embryonic stem cells and non- embryonic “somatic” or “adult” stem cells. Stem cells are present in every human body and have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. Stem cells can be retrieved from animals and humans and much has ben learned from stem cell research and promising progress has been made. Of all the specialized cells that are responsible for building the human body, none are more extraordinary than stem cells. In many tissues they serve as a sort of internal repair system, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells as long as the person or animal is still alive. In order to make an informal opinion on this topic, all aspects of the benefits and risks need to be taken into account.

One of the issues with stem cell research involves the use of embryos. A blastocyst or an embryo that is between 5 and 7 days old is used and the cells are derived from the inner cell mass capable of forming all the tissues of the body (Bohlin, 2001). The embryo is destroyed when the stem cells are harvested from it. Much of the research is done on already existing human embryonic stem cells to the dismay of many Pro-Life groups. The overall debates over the ethics of stem cell research involve two major ethical concerns: (1) the potential for human cloning, and (2) whether these embryos, or pre-embryos as some refer to them, are human life (Hyun, 2010). The initial controversy is related to the possibility of human cloning; especially when it first gained popularity, researchers were concerned with the potential for using stem cells to clone humans. Many arguments are made...