Should Stem Cell Research Be Banned?

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  • Topic: Stem cell, Cellular differentiation, Developmental biology
  • Pages : 11 (3676 words )
  • Download(s) : 122
  • Published : September 28, 2012
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By Polly Wells
By Polly Wells
Should stem cell research be banned?
Should stem cell research be banned?

Contents:
2
2

Introduction
2
2

Background Theory
5
5

Stem cell research should be allowed
6
6

Stem cell research should be banned
6
6

Conclusion
7
7

Bibliogra

Contents:
2
2

Introduction
2
2

Background Theory
5
5

Stem cell research should be allowed
6
6

Stem cell research should be banned
6
6

Conclusion
7
7

Bibliography
Introduction:

Genetic engineering and modification have increasingly become more common in the recent decades. The ‘cloning debate’ began in 1997, when Dolly the sheep was successfully cloned. Now, the ‘stem cell debate’ has become progressively more heated due to the advances in regenerative medicine. Stem cell therapies have enormous potential for good, but ethical reasons stand in the way of curing genetic diseases such as Parkinson’s disease. In this study I will explain the complexities and the difficulties that scientists face to use stem cells and conclude whether the battle is worth it.

Image from: http://www.stemcellupdate.net/
Image from: http://www.stemcellupdate.net/

Background Theory:

Stem cells have the ability to divide and multiply and to differentiate into specialised cells. When a stem cell divides, the new cells have the potential to remain an unspecialised stem cell, or to become another type of cell with a specialised function. This means specialised cells that have been lost can be replaced with stem cells from within your own body and function in the same way as the specialised cell. In organs such as the gut or bone marrow, stem cells regularly divide to repair damaged tissues; but in other organs, such as the pancreas and heart, stem cells can only divide in specific conditions. [1] There are several types of stem cells, but the two main ones, that are undergoing the most research, are adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells (see page 3 for information on adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells).

What are the unique properties of stem cells?
All stem cells are capable of dividing and multiplying for long-periods and can replicate themselves many times, or proliferate [1]. If a cluster of cells proliferated, whilst in a laboratory, millions of cells are produced in a matter of months. If the cells remain unspecialised, such as the parent stem cells, they are said to be capable of long-term self-renewal. Image from:

http://www.isscr.org/
Image from:
http://www.isscr.org/
All stem cells are unspecialised; they do not have any specific structure or feature to enable it to perform a specialised function. However, they can give rise to specialised cells. This process is known as differentiation; whereby the unspecialized cell acquires features of a specialized cell. The potency of cells depends on the cells differentiation; pluripotent cells can differentiate into nearly all types of cells (see page 4 information on induced pluripotent stem cells), whereas unipotent cells can only produce cells of their own type. [1] Most non-embryonic stem cells eventually differentiate after propagating, but embryonic stem cells can remain unspecialised even after a year in a laboratory. The cause for this remains unknown; but if the answer is found, it may make it possible to understand how cell proliferation is regulated during the abnormal cell division that leads to cancer and during normal embryonic development. Such information would also enable scientists to generate stem cells more efficiently within a laboratory. [1]

What are adult stem cells? [1]
Adult stem cells (also known as somatic stem cells) main roles are to maintain and repair the tissue in which they are found, which include the brain, bone marrow, peripheral blood, blood vessels, skeletal muscle, skin, teeth, heart, cornea, retina, gut, liver, pancreas, ovarian epithelium, and testis. Adult stem cells are multipotent, meaning...
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