Is The Search for Alternative Sources of Human Pluripotent Stem Cells A Mistake?

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One response to the controversy in the United States over the moral status of the early embryo has been the proposal that scientists search for alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells. Is this a good idea? The present article argues that it is not. Following a brief look at the ethical standing of the four proposals assessed by the President's Council on Bioethics in 2005, the author addresses the fundamental question of the wisdom of pursuing alternatives to current methods of stem cell derivation. The author concludes that, given the poor prospects for finding alternatives that are both scientifically and ethically sound, and the costs of diverting energy and resources from established embryonic methods, further investment in the search for alternative methods is unwise.

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