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Great news on the stem cell front?!

by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / August 23, 2006 5:57 AM PDT
Stem cells from a single cell?
(Scientist login: semods4@yahoo.com; pw= speakeasy)

>> Scientists have developed a tool to obtain embryonic stem cells from a single human embryo cell, apparently without harming the embryo.

A new technique plucks single cells from human embryos, generating stable embryonic stem cells lines while apparently leaving the embryo intact, scientists reported online Wednesday in Nature. "We're able to for the first time show it's possible to create embryonic stem cells without harming the embryo's potential for life. Hopefully this will solve the most basic objection to stem cell research," coauthor Robert Lanza, of Advanced Cell Technology at Worcester, Mass., told The Scientist.

Still, scientists cautioned the technique is still in its infancy, and only time will tell if it can benefit research. For instance, additional studies need to determine how similar or different the cells produced via this technique are to conventional human embryonic stem cell lines, said James Battey, chair of the National Institutes of Health stem cell task force, who did not participate in this study. "We don't know if it's easier or harder to make dopamine-secreting neurons with them, just as an example. The only way to determine what they can and can't do is with experiments," Battey told The Scientist.

Let's hope the caveats are soon overcome!

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!
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This is even more sickening.
by Evie / August 23, 2006 6:44 AM PDT

So now we are going to let this life realize it's potential, but we'll harvest cells from it early on? Think about that Dave. It's even MORE morally repugnant because on some level the researchers are acknowledging that there is something unethical about killing the embryo outright Sad

This should be illegal to do :(:(

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It's based on an IVF
by Dan McC / August 23, 2006 10:59 AM PDT

practice, Evie. You gotta spread your outrage far and wide to cover this.

Dan Happy

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What IVF practice ...
by Evie / August 23, 2006 11:06 AM PDT
In reply to: It's based on an IVF

... harvests cells from the embryo to experiment on to possibly benefit the life of another human?

You have to cast your net wide to portray this as just another harmless procedure associated with IVF.

We need to reign in the IVF industry if that is really the case.

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There is an IVF link, but it muddies the waters ...
by Bill Osler / August 23, 2006 11:17 AM PDT
In reply to: What IVF practice ...

Some labs harvest one of the cells from an embryo to see if it is possible to screen for major genetic disease prior to implantation. The idea is that they do not want to implant 'defective' embryos.

As I understand it, this technique for stem cells uses the cell that was harvested anyway. They coax that cell into dividing. They use one of the 'daughter' cells for their genetic screening and the other as a stem cell source.

The up side is that they create a stem cell without doing and further damage to the embryo. The down side is that we really do not know about the long term effects of this harvesting. In any event, the pre-implantation genetic screening is morally suspect. What are they going to do with the 'defective' embryos?

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Would this be in keeping with the thread?
by marinetbryant / August 23, 2006 12:18 PM PDT

Babies Made to Order, British Eugenics Closer...
News reports today that the British Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has decided to allow parents to screen their human embryos for genes that may--or may not--lead to diseases in adult life. Previously, the British agency allowed screening, and discarding, embryos for genes that cause deadly childhood diseases. The new rules allow parents to screen, and discard, their embryos for genes linked to diseases which may or may not develop later in life, such as cancer, despite the fact that such diseases are highly treatable. In fact, the genetic tests are not even 100% accurate, leaving the possibility that some normal embryos may be "misdiagnosed" and wantonly discarded. The British Medical Association chief of ethics and science, Vivienne Nathanson, denied the decision would lead to "designer babies, claiming that "there is a world of difference between a parent not wanting their child to develop breast cancer and someone wanting a child with blue eyes and blond hair." Really? This shift from selecting against definite childhood diseases, to selecting against the possibility of a treatable disease in adult life, represents an accelerated slide down the eugenics slope. The desire to be free from disease is increasingly becoming the desire to make babies to pre-ordained specifications. Despite Dr. Nathanson's defense, our society is engaged in a renewed eugenics project in which those with disabilities, and even some without them, will be seen as unworthy.

http://www.frc.org/get.cfm?i=WA06E26#WA06E26

Tom

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(NT) (NT) Percisely.
by Bill Osler / August 23, 2006 12:43 PM PDT
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Should there be a
by Dan McC / August 23, 2006 1:22 PM PDT

law against disposing of embryos that are not 100% non-viable?

Dan

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Non-viable ...
by Evie / August 23, 2006 1:31 PM PDT
In reply to: Should there be a

... and possessing some genetic "defect" are vastly different things. Where would YOU draw the line?

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Personally?
by Dan McC / August 23, 2006 2:26 PM PDT
In reply to: Non-viable ...

I would not engage in the activity so the decision would never be mine. As a matter of public policy? I do not believe that the government should intrude into the intimate lives of its citizens while making such personal decisions.

Where would you draw the line, Evie?

Dan

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it's the governments job
by null. / August 23, 2006 4:15 PM PDT
In reply to: Personally?

to protect the weak and those unable to protect themselves from society.

I do not believe that the government should intrude into the intimate lives of its citizens while making such personal decisions.

It could be said that these "personal decisions" are grossly intruding on the rights of weak. I believe this to be the case, myself.

Don Erickson

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RE: intimate lives of its citizens
by caktus / August 23, 2006 6:49 PM PDT
In reply to: Personally?

"I do not believe that the government should intrude into the intimate lives of its citizens while making such personal decisions."

Seems that theory could also be applied to slavery, murder, burning wicthes, etc, etc, etc.....

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(NT) (NT) How?
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 5:42 AM PDT
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(NT) (NT) Even spousal, paerent, child abuse
by caktus / August 24, 2006 11:20 AM PDT
In reply to: (NT) How?
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Don't make the embryos
by Evie / August 23, 2006 10:27 PM PDT
In reply to: Personally?

Don't screen the embryos made.

This stuff has NOTHING to do with the intimate lives of anyone.

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If you ask those
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 5:43 AM PDT
In reply to: Don't make the embryos

involved I wonder if they would agree with you.

Dan Happy

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That is irrelevant Dan.
by Evie / August 24, 2006 5:47 AM PDT
In reply to: If you ask those

The reason surplus embryos are created is for economic convenience. Personal preferences don't trump ethics and morality for the entire human race. Just because you want something ...

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So now you think that
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 6:52 AM PDT

the government should decide what is intimate in your life?

Dan

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Show me where I said that.
by Evie / August 24, 2006 7:03 AM PDT

Something that requires a scientist to extract cells to screen for various genes is hardly intimate.

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And furthermore ...
by Evie / August 24, 2006 7:12 AM PDT

... the government controls this sort of stuff every day. There are any number of medical procedures that are not approved, so I can't just go out and get them. There are any number of substances, like ephedra, that have been banned. There are tons of pharmaceuticals restricted by prescription only access, not to mention criminalized drugs.

Just because childbearing is a personal issue, doesn't exempt anything one might do towards that goal beyond limits. It's too bad the industry itself hasn't put the brakes on. Sad

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You said it here.
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 10:10 AM PDT

Dan: As a matter of public policy? I do not believe that the government should intrude into the intimate lives of its citizens while making such personal decisions.

Evie: This stuff has NOTHING to do with the intimate lives of anyone.

Dan: If you ask those involved I wonder if they would agree with you.

Evie: That is irrelevant[,] Dan.

These are the most intimate decisions people make, Evie. What decisions would you consider intimate if not these? And just how big and intrusive do you want the central government to be?

Dan Happy

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Do you support reproductive human cloning?
by Evie / August 24, 2006 10:15 AM PDT

By your definition, such is simply an "intimate decision". SCNT for "therapeutic" cloning only differs from reproductive cloning in that the embryo is killed and harvested after a week or so.

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No response, Evie?
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 11:37 PM PDT

Feel free to ignore the posts that point out your positions that you find uncomfortable.

Dan

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Careful what you wish for.
by Evie / August 24, 2006 6:52 AM PDT
In reply to: Should there be a

If they ever isolate the supposed "gay gene" watch the faux fur fly in the gay community ...

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What wish, Evie?
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 10:13 AM PDT

I asked a question. I did not express a wish.

There's that reading problem of yours.

Again.

Dan Happy

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You wish ...
by Evie / August 24, 2006 10:19 AM PDT
In reply to: What wish, Evie?

... for all such decisions to be considered out of the scope of regulation. You think that selecting suitable embryos should be a personal decision to heck with the ethical implications of same.

I'm only suggesting that you should be careful what you wish for, because if/when you get your wish, you might not be too happy about what various couples PERSONALLY screen for and deem unworthy of life.

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Probably.
by Dan McC / August 24, 2006 11:39 PM PDT
In reply to: You wish ...

I don't agree with many reproductive choices that are made now. I see no reason for that to change.

Dan

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Re: What are they going to do with the suspect embryos?
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / August 23, 2006 10:59 PM PDT

They certainly aren't going to implant them, Dr. Bill! Do you really think it's morally justifiable to implant an embryo knowing that it carries a disease like Tay-Sachs or Downs? This isn't theoretical -- previously, many Jewish couples where both husband and wife were carriers chose to adopt, rather than take the ? risk of having a child that would die a horrible death by age two or so. I've heard that some wealthier couples now use this technique to be sure of having a healthy, non-carrier child (vis a vi Tay-Sachs, at least). As for the other embryos, the same thing happens to them that happens to the majority of embryos created for IVF -- they are discarded. But that's what happens to the majority of fertilized egss in nature, as well.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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Where to draw the line Dave
by Evie / August 23, 2006 11:12 PM PDT

You will never answer that question. It is best drawn out of an abundance of caution considering the incredibly slippery slope we're already sliding down.

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Evie, the line MUST be drawn somewhere that allows
by Dave Konkel [Moderator] / August 24, 2006 7:45 AM PDT

life-saving research to continue -- and this approach (if true) does that without destroying even potential human life. That should be seen as a good thing, and a place we can all agree. If not, the situation is truly hopeless, because it means that those opposed to stem cell research deep down believe that Stephen Hawking's ALS (for example) is really "God's will" or "part of God's plan," and shouldn't be disrupted.

-- Dave K, Speakeasy Moderator
click here to email semods4@yahoo.com

The opinions expressed above are my own,
and do not necessarily reflect those of CNET!

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It is ...
by Evie / August 24, 2006 7:47 AM PDT

... research at ALL costs does not have to continue.

It's against Darwin's plan too if you want to go there.

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