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Stem Cell DialoguesA Philosophical and Scientific Inquiry Into Medical Frontiers$
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Sheldon Krimsky

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231167482

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231167482.001.0001

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Circumventing Embryocide

Circumventing Embryocide

(p.41) Dialogue 7 Circumventing Embryocide
Stem Cell Dialogues

Sheldon Krimsky

Columbia University Press

In this dialogue, Dr. Rebecca Franklin and Catholic bioethicist Paul Flannery discuss the alternatives to destroying human embryos in order to acquire pluripotent stem cells. After President George W. Bush prohibited the use of public funds for embryo stem cell research, there remained deep divisions in public opinion on the issue of destroying embryos for harvesting embryonic stem cells. Some scientists became uncomfortable in their complicity with embryocide. In seeking alternatives, they considered working on deactivated embryos, in which critical genes had been removed to render the embryo incapable of implanting in the uterine wall. Flannery has been advocating against the use of live embryos. Franklin challenges his view and proposes keeping all research opportunities open to scientists, a policy she refers to as “stem cell pluralism.” Here they talk about the promise of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as an approach to stem cell development beyond the use of embryos; other methods of cell reprogramming; and the idea of creating an embryonic-like stem cell from a somatic cell.

Keywords:   human embryos, pluripotent stem cells, George W. Bush, stem cell research, embryonic stem cells, embryocide, genes, stem cell pluralism, induced pluripotent stem cells, cell reprogramming

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