June 5, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

embryonic stem cell research

4 min read

We kind of take for granted these days that embryonic stem cell research can proceed without any restrictions, at least at the federal level. However, in the early days of blogging here on The Niche the big debate and battle were over federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. Things got very complicated and for a time the funding was illegal. We should learn from this science history because things could easily go back to that restrictive atmosphere again. Science is not in a …Read More

3 min read

Should there be a religious or moral litmus test for the NIH Director? A few dozen super conservative Republican members of Congress have written a letter to President Trump saying he should fire NIH Director Francis Collins. Why? Because they claim that Collins is not conservative enough for their taste and in particular they don’t like his support of embryonic stem cell research funding. You can read the actual letter here and see text in a clip from it below where religion is invoked. Does …Read More

2 min read

What is morally acceptable? Where do we draw the line at behaviors that just go too far? What about cloning? Over the years American attitudes have shifted on a number of potentially hot button moral behaviors including reproductive human cloning and pollsters including Gallup have tracked these attitudes. Gallup just came out with a poll suggesting that Americans are shifting, at least relatively speaking, toward being more morally accepting of some controversial behaviors. For example, the percent of Americans who view human cloning as …Read More

2 min read

We had the big news last week that for the first time ever, human embryo cloning (aka “therapeutic cloning”) worked to produce apparently normal embryonic stem cells. I posted about it a few times here, here, and here. I have tried my best to be factual, open minded, and realistic about the issues. Frankly, the stem cell field as a whole has done mostly a lousy job handling the human cloning dialogue sparked by the publication of the therapeutic cloning paper last week. It …Read More

3 min read

Yesterday’s report of human therapeutic cloning to make embryonic stem (ES) cell lines is a big deal. I support the work and I believe it is very important. People’s reactions to it vary wildly depending on their agendas of course. This post is a no-nonsense overview of the main points. My overall point. This is just one paper folks. It’s a turning point paper for the stem cell field to be sure, but there is a great deal to still be learned about this …Read More

3 min read

For the first time ever, scientists have successfully used somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) via the process of therapeutic cloning to generate normal human embryonic stem cells (hESC). Recall that there are two kinds of human cloning: therapeutic (which is reported in the new paper discussed in this post) and reproductive, which is making an actual new person with an identical genome to an existing person. The latter has never been achieved, but some of us are worried it is coming sooner than most …Read More