The controversy over the public funding of research using human embryos stems from the question of "when does life begin?" Many pro-life advocates believe that a four- to six-day-old embryo in a petri dish is life and should not be destroyed. Others are concerned that growing human embryos will lead to human cloning. Political and ethical debates have been passionate on both sides as embryonic research has continued with private funding only. Public figures such as Michael J. Fox and Nancy Reagan have strongly advocated easing of those stringent laws. Individual states, such as California and Massachusetts, are wrangling their own legislation. And research involving embryonic stem cells is flourishing in other countries with the involvement of some entrepreneurs who are less-than-desirable pioneers.
A Answers (1)
Louis Rosner, Neurology, answeredThe first scientific experiments with human embryonic stem cells were in 1998 when a group led by Dr. James Thomson at the University of Wisconsin developed a technique to isolate and grow the cells. It took until August 9, 2001 to acquire federal funding. But the funding bill, signed by president George W. Bush, represented a compromise: research would be limited to twenty-two stem-cell lines acquired prior to that date.