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Medical News and Perspectives
June 22/29, 2005

Scenarios for Stem Cell Creation Debated

JAMA. 2005;293(24):2990-2991. doi:10.1001/jama.293.24.2990

While the President’s Council on Bioethics debated moral and scientific issues surrounding a number of potential scenarios for creating stem cells without destroying live embryos, real-world actions seemed to make the exercise almost irrelevant.

In the days following the May 12 release of the council’s white paper, “Alternative Sources of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells,” researchers from South Korea announced they developed an efficient method for creating embryos through cloning. (Their report was published on May 19 in an online edition of Science [http://www.sciencemag.org].) A week later, the US House of Representatives passed a bill that would loosen the prohibition of federal funding for research using new stem cell lines by allowing the use of excess embryos slated for destruction at fertility clinics. Still, with President Bush reiterating on May 24 that he would veto any bill easing the use of fertilized embryos, the council’s findings appear to be the current blueprint that would lead to federally funded stem cell research.

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