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October 17, 2005

Stem cell breakthrough ensures whole embryos will be flushed

Scientists have developed a technique for harvesting stem cells without destroying the embryo. [NYT permalink] The researchers successfully extracted tissue from fertilized mouse ovum and cultured it for stem cells. Allegedly, this is an ethical breakthrough because the egg survived to process.

What the article doesn't mention that the ovum will be discarded anyway. If this technique were used to generate human stem cells, the fertilized egg would have to be thrown away. Nobody would want to gestate an ovum after it had been raided for stem cells.

It's sad to see political theater being played out in the laboratory.


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I've seen the argument from embryonic personhood advanced much more often than the argument from the precautionary principle. In particular, it seems that the reason Bush is so strongly against stem cell research is his belief in embryonic personhood.

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