Stem Cells: The Global Competition
Mark A. Sealy
April 11, 2011
Stem Cells: The Global Competition
Stem cell research has gained global significance over the last fifteen to twenty years. In 2000 the Human Genome Project unveiled a rough draft of the genetic map of human DNA. Scientist now armed with a map of human DNA set forth on the quest to clone cells. Countries all across the globe are conducting research with stem cells in an effort to gain prestige, economic gains, and technological superiority for their county.
Countries Policies Effect Global Competition
When a country set policies that relate to scientific research and commercial ...view middle of the document...
However, the use of federal research funds comes with many restrictions in regards to the origin of the stem cell line. During the George W. Bush administration regulations were passed that limited the number of stem cell lines that can be used for research. However, these limitations only pertained to research that was being conducted with federal funds. There are no special restrictions that apply to privately funded research on HESC in the United States.
Course change in the United States. In 2009, the election of Barack Obama lead to a change in policy. The new administration authorized federal fund for research into new lines of HESC. This policy shift is meant to allow for greater access to a more varied genetic pool.
Signs That the Policies of the United States Have Affected Our Global Edge
It is challenging to gauge where a country is competitively in regards to research. You must examine the number of discoveries that a country is making and the number of valid theories that are being published. Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology assessed the scientific output from different countries.
“Although the US produces the majority of the work in the field of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), it is under-performing on a relative basis in comparison to other areas of molecular biology” (Harvard, 2008, ¶3).
While the United States may be “under-Performing” in comparison to other areas of molecular biology, we are still leading the world in our research.
Fear of falling behind drives policy change. Studies such as the one conducted by the Georgia Institute of Technology have been used by different groups to change the public perception surrounding HESC research. Despite the fact that there are no restrictions on what stem cells can be used in private research and that federal funding is available for researchers who use the existing approved stem cell lines, the perception was that there was an inadequate supply of HESC lines to produce results. A change in perception was necessary due to the ethical reservations that the United States population had towards the method by which HESC is obtained. Although the United States already posses several different lines of approved HESC lines which have the potential to replenish themselves, the threat of falling behind globally was enough to drive policy change. In 2009 the administration changed policy and provided federal funding for research using additional HESC lines.
The United States has been a leader in scientific research which has not only been a sense of great national pride but it has also provided a great flow of economic wealth to the country. The United States has always been a leader in converting our scientific discoveries into viable commercial products. Federal and state funding of research encourages private companies...