"If there were no controversy over human embryonic stem cells, Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch of M.I.T. and Dr. George Daley of Harvard Medical School would probably never have started some unusual, and difficult, experiments...."These experiments, driven by the financial and ethical realities of creating embryos so stem cells can he harvested, involve transferring genetic material from an adult into an egg, but eliminating or blocking the genes that cause an undifferentiated mass of cells to develop into an embryo.
Ethically, several groups who have historically been opposed to the use of embryos to acquire stem cells have endorsed the techniques under study here. A representative of the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia saw this as being a solution rather than a compromise.
Financially, since federal funding can only be granted for work on cell lines that existed prior to August 2001, the paucity of private funding has provided an incentive to look into non-destructive ways to come up with stem cells. Such research can be funded through federal sources, which funds around 95% of all research.
It is good when bioethicists, research scientists, and politicians can work together on solving ethical issues with scientific research. Just to acknowledge that an ethical issue exists and to be willing to address it is a hopeful step.