Naujausi A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P R S T V W Y Z

ISBN: 978-0-520-252103
Brūkšninis kodas: 003076433987
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     The debate over stem cell research is complex and complicated by di­vergent religious views and by electoral politics. Our purpose in this vol­ume is to present the major issues dispassionately, as a careful scientist presents them, raising the complexities and controversies but doing so in a manner that is accessible to the general public, since ultimately stem cell research will be critically influenced, if not decided, by public policies.

The issues raised here thus are important and of concern not just to scientists and potential patients but also to the public. Does stem cell re­search destroy human life? If so, is embryonic stem cell research justified for broader humanitarian reasons? How will public decisions be made, and what role will faith and science play in the decision making? Is there sufficient scientific evidence of clinical benefit (or lack thereof) to justify political or policy decisions that promote or limit stem cell research? Do we not need more basic and applied research before such decisions are made? How will scientific research respond to the extant political reali­ties and restrictions on embryonic stem cell research?...


     While these are perhaps the major questions of the debate, other ques­tions also arise, and we hope readers will think of some of these issues as they read the chapters that follow. Who owns the intellectual prop­erty associated with stem cell research? How should the public receive a return on its investment in stem cell research? Should genes be patented? What will happen to the frozen embryos left over from in vitro fertiliza­tion if they are not used for embryonic stem cell research? Are the Roman and the American Catholic Church in agreement on these matters? Does the Hippocratic tradition of doing no harm preclude embryonic stem cell research? What is the moral status of a parthenogenetic blastocyst, a blastocyst or early embryo derived from an unfertilized egg stimulated artificially to develop into an organism rather than one derived from a sperm-fertilized egg? The parthogenote then is an organism derived from a single individual rather than from two individuals or "parents." Can we reframe the public and scientific discussion to avoid language that po­larizes the debate unnecessarily? Is the word embryo itself unnecessarily polarizing? Is it scientifically precise? Is it useful to speak of a pre-embryo? What about the term therapeutic cloning} Should we speak of somatic cell nuclear transfer rather than cloning when we wish to gen­erate new stem cell lines? Or is this language simply too technical and un­wieldy for public discourse?

     The contributors to this volume differ on several critical points, but all agree that the first step toward good public policy is scientific knowl­edge. As Zwanziger notes in chapter 6 of this book, failing to understand the science will result in bad debate and can lead to bad policy, but un­derstanding the science is not sufficient to ensure wisdom in either. The difficulty is whether disagreement comes from ignorance of the facts or from different interpretation of the meaning of the facts. We hope this volume will contribute to increased public awareness of the scientific facts and that such awareness will lead to more informed public opinion and public policies concerning this important issue.

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