Stem Cell Research

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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STEM CELL RESEARCH Stem cell research is a fast growing area of medical technology that has the potential to help the pain and suffering of many people. Stem cells could one day be used to regenerate tissues that were destroyed by disease or injury. They have the ability to divide without constraint and give rise to many specialized cells. Scientists obtain stem cells from embryonic cells, Sembryonic germ cells, fetal tissue, and adult stem cells. However, due to ethical issues, stem cell research is controversial because the only source of stem cells is human embryos and a fetal tissue and harvesting the stem cells destroys the embryo.

What is a stem cell? A stem cell is a cell that has the ability to divide for indefinite periods of time often throughout the life of the organism. Stem cells can characterize to the many different cell types that make up an organism.

They can be manipulated to have the prospective to develop into mature cells that have characteristic shapes and specialized functions, such as heart cells, blood cells, skin cells, and nerve cells. All of these cells are generated from the zygote or fertilized egg. In 1998, researchers at the University of Wisconsin and the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, found a way of garnering stem cells from embryos and maintaining their growth in a lab.

Stem cells are located in the inner cell of the human embryo. The blastocyst is the stage of development at which the embryo?s inner cell mass forms. The trophoblast is removed from the embryo, then the inner cell mass is isolated and using a micropipette the embryonic stem cells are extracted from the inner mass. The inner mass if placed in a women?s uterus and cannot generate a fetus. The stem cells obtained...