Field of Science

Skin cells to stem cells

"As news of the success by two research teams spread by e-mail, scientists seemed almost giddy at the likelihood that their field, which for its entire life has been at the center of so much debate, may suddenly become like other areas of biomedical science: appreciated, eligible for federal funding and wide open for new waves of discovery."
Wow. I have said this many times before; no matter how much egghead Presidents and religious bigots suppress scientific research, science moves on. It may trudge or even falter sometime, but it will progress. Of that one thing we can be sure.

Now, researchers have come up with a method to use 4 genes to induce skin cells to transform into stem cells through a retroviral vector. I am yet to read the two reports in Science and Cell in detail (here and here) but the news for now sounds like a real breakthroughs; even the White House dispensed their insipid bleatings about it. But to hell with them for now. I always knew there could be a way around this, and now here it seems to be. Made the front page of the New York Times. More details later.

Links via email from Patrix


  1. Why would the "religious bigots," as you call them, be against this?

  2. not against this. against the previous research which still aimed to potentially save the lives of millions.

  3. Maybe necessity was the mother of invention, and the Bush adminstration's attitude to embryonic stem cell use actually helped accelerate this discovery?

  4. You posted about this on all those other chemistry blogs and you haven't even read the papers yet?

    Way to develop critical reading skills.

  5. Can't honest and reasonable people disagree about the point at which life begins without being called bigots or (from the other side) baby killers?

  6. anon 2: does that mean the bush administration should suppress more scientific research with the excuse that it will lead to alternative clever scientific breakthroughs? science always finds a way, agreed, but as you will agree that is hardly an excuse for suppressing research.

    anon 2: how do you know i did not read the papers simply based on the fact that i posted about it on other chemistry blogs? i posted it after going through the commentary and getting pretty excited; you don't have to read everything in the paper by the way to know that this is a breakthrough. way to develop critical reasoning skills

    energy turtle: my comments are targeted at an unfortunately large number of religious people who say "life begins at conception. period". i have absolutely no problem discussing when life begins with reasonable christians and theologians. i think we need more of those, but the way i see it their comments are increasingly being drowned in the noise made by more fundamentalist/evangelical christians.

  7. As a Christian who does believe that life begins at conception, I can not express how much anguish I feel over the idea of embryonic stem cell research. On one hand, life begins at conception, on the other hand, life doesn't end at conception. This issue is so thorny, all I can do is hope and pray that science will continue to try and get around it.


Markup Key:
- <b>bold</b> = bold
- <i>italic</i> = italic
- <a href="">FoS</a> = FoS