News FocusBiomedical Research

Ethical Loophole Closing Up for Stem Cell Researchers

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Science  01 Oct 1999:
Vol. 286, Issue 5437, pp. 31
DOI: 10.1126/science.286.5437.31

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MUNICH-- Ever since U.S. researchers revealed last year that they had created "immortal" lines of human embryonic stem (ES) cells--a type of cell extracted from an embryo that can be tweaked to grow into any form of human tissue--teams around the world have been eager to use ES cells to grow tissues for transplant. But creating ES cell lines requires researchers to destroy an embryo, so research is either heavily restricted or banned altogether in many countries. One hope was that lines of embryonic germ cells, which are taken from aborted fetal tissue, could be used instead. But results presented at a workshop on stem cell and nuclear transfer research here last month have dampened those hopes.