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Out of One, Many: Stem Cells Ignite Scientific Inquiry, Controversy in '99

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Additionally, the guidelines call for establishment of a Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Review Group to assure that the rules are followed, excluding from federal funding any research linked to human cloning, excluding research involving adding stem cells to human or animal eggs or embryos, and excluding funding for research using human embryonic stem cells extracted from embryos that were created expressly for research. In effect, all embryos that produce the stem cells must have been discarded by fertility clinics and not created in the laboratory.

For patients of all political and religious stripes, the issue is largely a no-brainer. As the advocacy group Patients' Coalition for Urgent Research said in a statement issued in support of federal funding, stem cell research is "a new area of science with tremendous promise for alleviating and even curing catastrophic illness."

Perhaps we should let Galileo himself have the final say, 377 years after he wrote these words about scientific inquiry: "Philosophy is written in this grand book -- I mean the universe -- which stands continually open to our gaze, but it cannot be understood unless one first learns to comprehend the language and interpret the characters in which it is written."

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