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Stem Cell Research Essay

935 words - 4 pages

What are stem cells and where are they found?

Stem cells are un-programmed cells which have the potential to grow into the 300+ different kinds of cells in the human body.

The different types of stem cells – where can they be harvested from?

Totipotent, pluripotent and multipotent all contain “potent”. Potency is the state of being potent. Potent and potency both derive from potential, the capability of doing something. Cell differentiation is when the developing organism needs to create the various types of cells.

Totipotent is the term to describe for stem cells that can become any kind of cell in the body. In Latin, “Toti” means “total”, so the stem cell can be thought of as ...view middle of the document...

Why is it so controversial?

The assertion that life begins at conception, making out that stem cell harvesting is akin to murder, as the stem cells from the embryo are critical for its development, therefore harvesting stem cells would result in the death of the embryo. In contrast, others believe that person-hood starts after a certain time period, for example, two weeks after fertilisation, where the foetus has started developing a nervous system – cells have started to differentiate. There are many conflicts of belief when questioning the start of personhood. Most “pro-life” people believe that personhood starts at conception, others believe a few hours after conception, where the first cell divides. Some believe, through the interpretation of Bible links that personhood is when blood is present in the embryo. However, most pro-choice people believe personhood starts later in pregnancy instead of when blood is present. A traditional Jewish belief based on the Bible is that personhood is present when the foetus has half emerged from the mother. Some “pro-choice” people believe that personhood is present when the individual is breathing on its own.

Who are the groups for/against stem cell research?

The Catholic Church believes it is not right to kill a life in order to save a life.
The Michael J. Fox foundation supports the research for purposes of finding a cure for Parkinson's disease.
Pro-Life is against research of embryonic stem cell research because they believe that embryos and foetuses should have full legal protection.
Pro-Choice is for stem cell research as they believe it is a woman's right to have full control over their body.

What are the...

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