Stem cells are cells found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms. They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiating into a diverse range of specialized cell types.
Why are they of interest to medical researchers?
Stem cells are unique in their ability to divide and regenerate themselves in people's bodies. They can replace damaged or destroyed tissue, as opposed to having organ transplants, as there aren't many donor organs. Scientists could program stem cells to become a desired cell. That way, people can heal from serious injuries easily.
Ethical implications of stem cell research
Stem cell research is at the centre of a raging controversy due to its ethical implications. Although few debate the potential marvels that mastering stem cells could provide by way of medical advancements in the treatment and prevention of life threatening diseases, many object strenuously to the measures being taken to reach that goal. Proponents of embryonic research argue that a blastocyst is only a cluster of 150 cells, and does not possess even the nervous system required to biologically qualify as a human being. For the people whose moral beliefs state that human life begins at the moment of conception, embryonic research is simply unacceptable, especially since adult stem cell therapy has already proven to have potential in treating diseases such as diabetes, acute renal failure, sickle cell…