Adult Versus Embryonic: The Controversial Stem Cell Research Debate

Essay by MOB69High School, 10th gradeA, June 2007

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There has been an ongoing debate about stem cell research over the past few years and as another year passes, the debate seems to grow more intense. To understand what this debate is all about, one must understand what stem cells are and the purpose of them. Stem cell research dates back to 1998 when the first stem cells were grown in a culture by Dr. James Thomson from the University of Wisconsin and Dr. John Gearhart of Johns Hopkins University. He and his team were the first to come up with a technique that would isolate and transfer stem cells. Complete federal funding for the research was available up until August 9, 2001 when President George W. Bush approved federal funds usage for only a few stem cell lines that already existed. According to the Congressional Research Services Chart below, the amount of government funding given for embryonic stem cell research purposes for the 1999-2005 fiscal years were limited.

Clearly this shows that more funding was given for stem cell research in general than for embryonic stem cell research itself, which has yet to show any promise at all.

Congressional Research Services, (2006).

People on the side for embryonic stem cell research were understandably upset, as this decision would slow down the progress of embryonic research. Those against embryonic stem cell research were happy with the decision because they believed that the research was unethical and immoral.

There are two different types of stem cell research in this debate. There is adult stem cell research in which stem cells are derived from adult patients and there is the more controversial embryonic stem cell research which is derived from embryos. The debate centers more so on embryonic research than the adult research. The reason this debate exists is because there...