science cells essay

Topics: Stem cell, Cellular differentiation, Developmental biology Pages: 2 (775 words) Published: February 24, 2014
Stem cells are pluripotent cells present in all living organisms. These cells can differentiate into any type of cell, including nerves and cardiac muscle. The scientific community is very excited about the possibility of these undifferentiated cells being used to treat conditions such as spinal cord injuries, diabetes, and cancer. Despite the enormous potential for medical advancements, controversy surrounds the sources and methods of acquiring stem cells and the possible improper uses of the knowledge gained from the experimentation with these cells. It is imperative that science pursue the needed research while addressing any ethical issues. Stem cells can be obtained from three different sources. The first and most controversial source is an embryonic cell that comes from a three to five day old blastocyst, which is a ball of undifferentiated cells that forms after an ovum is fertilised. These are often created by in vitro fertilisation for implantation in infertile woman or gestational carriers in order for these women to become pregnant. Some of the “extra” unused blastocysts are frozen for possible future use. These blastocysts and aborted foetuses have been used to create embryonic stem cell lines. The second very rich source of stem cells is the umbilical cord. Blood cells from the cord blood of a newborn infant can be used immediately or frozen for later use by that infant, close relative, or unrelated recipient. The third and most recently discovered source is adult stem cells. Adult bone marrow or blood cells can be artificially induced back into unprogrammed cells and then can be used as stem cells to form other somatic cell lines, such as nerves and muscle cells. The origin of the first argument is the source and process for producing some stem cells, specifically embryonic stem cells. Often, people jump to the conclusion that all stem cells are derived from embryos meaning that a human life must be sacrificed in order to create a stem cell line....
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