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Can opposition to research spur innovation?

Thompson, Charis (2007) Can opposition to research spur innovation? Nature Reports Stem Cells, online. ISSN 1754-8705

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Identification Number: 10.1038/stemcells.2007.128


When California's US$3 billion Stem Cell Research and Cures Act, Proposition 71, was approved by voters in November 2004, the crucial paragraph did not mention embryonic stem cells (ES cells): "There is hereby established a right to conduct stem cell research which includes research involving adult stem cells, cord blood stem cells, pluripotent stem cells, and/or progenitor cells. Pluripotent stem cells are cells that are capable of self-renewal, and have broad potential to differentiate into multiple adult cell types."1 Had the drafters somehow foreseen the international effort that would be spurred by Shinya Yamanaka and colleagues' breakthrough 2006 paper2 in Cell? Did they know that Yamanaka's and James Thomson's reprogramming teams3, 4 would announce in late 2007 that a quartet of transcription factors within the larger pool of embryo-specific genes was sufficient to reprogramme human skin cells to pluripotency? In 2004, the only known way to reset the genome of a cell from an adult animal was to transfer its nucleus to an egg and allow this to divide into an early embryo, and generating ES cells meant destroying the embryo. Unlike the original, differentiated cell, these ES cells would be pluripotent, capable of becoming any sort of cell in the body. Did the wording in Proposition 71 forecast or spur the innovation that patient-specific pluripotent stem cells might be possible without either embryo creation or embryo destruction?

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 Nature Publishing Group
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Date Deposited: 06 Nov 2013 14:47
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:41

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