Tuesday, July 07, 2009

New stem cell policy

The NY Times reports:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration released final rules governing stem cell research on Monday that will allow many older stem cell lines to be eligible for federally financed research. ...

The rules still forbid financing of research using stem cell lines from embryos created solely for research.
This differs from Pres. Bush's 2001 policy in that Bush allowed federal funding of research using all existing stem cell lines at the time.

There is a difference. Apparently some of the Bush-approved stem cell lines were made from embryos that were created for the purpose, and they will not be allowed under the Obama policy. Obama will allow many others.

I don't have any opinion about which policy is better, I just don't think that one policy is any more pro-science than the other. The two policies just draw an ethical line slightly differently. The practical consequences may be negligible.

In case you are waiting for medical labs to regenerate organs from stem cells for you, that is a long way off. Just look at how many bald people are around. We will have regenerated hair implants long before we get more complicated organs.

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