“When I saw the embryo, I suddenly realized there was such a small difference between it and my daughters,” said Dr. Yamanaka.
The New York Times article on Shinya Yamanaka, “Risk taking is in his genes,” (free one time registration necessary) should get the headline-writer in trouble for a sad pun.
Instead, Dr. Yamanaka might be in trouble with the objectors to conscience. (No links, just look at today’s posts – or the last two months of posts – the subject keeps popping up.)
People like John Gearhart, MD will want to “put pressure” on Yamanaka to write letters to Nancy Pelossi and the rest of the US legislators making the usual reactionary case for Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in light of the successes with non-destructive research.
The NYT reporter, Martin Fackler, can’t be too popular in the next few days for pointing out that the US laws and funding are not nearly as tight as those in Japan, due to moral objections in that country:
In 1999, his career got a break when he was hired by other universities, including Kyoto University in 2004, that were willing to give him a laboratory and more money. At about the same time, he said, he visited his friend’s fertility clinic. That visit inspired him to find a way around the moral issues that had bogged down stem cell research, not just in the United States but also Japan, where the Education Ministry put tough restrictions on embryo use.
In fact, restrictions are so tight that he says he cannot use human embryos at his laboratories here. Instead, research using human embryos is done at U.C. San Francisco, where he maintains a small two-person laboratory. He said he had never handled actual embryonic cells himself, and the American lab uses them only to verify that the reprogrammed adult cells are behaving as true stem cells.
“There is no way now to get around some use of embryos,” he said. “But my goal is to avoid using them.”
For a look at the science and bioethics slant on these revelations, see Wired Science (see the comments on this one), Blog.bioethics.net, Wesley Smith’s Secondhand Smoke, and Jennifer Lahl’s blog, “The Human Future.”