Lee Silver: iPCs named due to politics

Lee Silver, author of is someone that I’ve read about on the ‘net and about whom Robert George and Patrick Lee said, “He hides his ideology under a veneer of science.”

He was the guest on Carl Zimmerman’s Bloggingheads.tv November 30, discussing reprogrammed skin cells.

Dr. Lee is convinced that if a couple of more labs reproduce the reprogramming (and others have since, Jaenisch and Yamanaka’s lab have already published follow-up results), then reprogramming will probably be the way we get embryonic stem cells, rather than by destruction of embryos.

However, he claims that the naming of the cells “induced Pluripotent Stem cells” or iPC’s is a political move to hide either the fact that the opponents of embryo-destructive research are being fooled or being hypocrites.

From the thread following the interview:

Actually, human ES cells (unlike mouse ES cells) are perfectly capable of differentiating into trophoblast (Nature Biotech 20:1261; 2002). Why do you think this isn’t common knowledge? (Hint: politics) And mouse ES cells can be turned into whole mice quite efficiently with a technique that does NOT involve blastocyst injection or tetraploid embryos (Nature Biotech 25:91; 2007). Concerning your next post, how do you know what the intent was behind naming these cells iPS cells?

. . .

The question is whether continued research will soon get us to the point where fibroblasts cells can be transformed into cells that are completely indistinguishable from human ES cells, with the potential to form every human cell type (including, eventually, blastomeres which could, in theory, develop into babies without any further “tinkering”). With all of the accomplishments of the last ten years, it is very hard to imagine that this won’t be possible. The ONLY reason to doubt it is based on a religious-inspired faith that there is something FUNDAMENTALLY different between blastomeres and ES cells.

So now, it’s a religious opinion that there’s some difference between blastomeres and ESCs?

Hat Tip to The Daily Transcript at ScienceBlogs.

About bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)


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