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In The World of Science VI
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Mr. Meddler



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 3:14 pm    Post subject: In The World of Science VI Reply with quote

Or is it VII? hm...

http://www.nature.com/news/2006/060918/full/060918-10.html

Published online: 21 September 2006; | doi:10.1038/news060918-10

Naturally dead embryos yield stem cells
'Stalled' embryos could be new source of cell lines.
Alison Abbott


Researchers have succeeded in developing a human embryonic stem-cell line from an embryo that had died naturally.

The development may offer a non-problematic source of embryonic cells in countries such as Germany and the United States where the law does not allow the use of cell lines whose creation caused the destruction of embryos.

If the work bears fruit, researchers could instead create stem-cell lines from embryos that had naturally stopped developing during in vitro fertilization procedures.

"Fewer than half of human eggs fertilized in vitro do not develop to the 'blastocyst' stage, which is required for implantation," says Miodrag Stojkovic, who led the project at the University of Newcastle in the UK. He is now deputy director of the Principe Felipe Research Centre in Valencia, Spain. "There are many different reasons why they don't survive."

Arrested development

Stojkovic used 161 donated embryos in his study, which is scheduled to be published in Stem Cells. The embryos came from two local in vitro fertilization clinics. Of these, 29 were developing, 119 'arrested' (stopped dividing) 3 to 5 days after fertilization, and 13 arrested 6 to 7 days after fertilization.

Arrested embryos were monitored for up to two days to make sure they would not revive, thus meeting the standard embryologists' criteria for being dead.

Stojkovic's team derived healthy embryonic stem-cell lines from one of the 13 late-arrested embryos, along with eight of the normally developing embryos. They had no success using embryos that arrested early.

Only a few of the cells, called blastomeres, in the arrested embryos had remained healthy — many had distorted shapes or damaged chromosomes. "But there were enough undamaged blastomeres to allow us some limited success," says Stojkovic.

The efficiency of the process is very low at the moment, but scientists may be able to improve on this in the future, he says.

Maximum potential

Stojkovic says he did not set out to find ways to address the concerns of politicians, but rather to maximize the use of donated material. "I think that if you are given donated human embryos for research, you have a moral duty to use as much of the material as possible — and we have now found that we don't have to discard half of the embryos immediately, as we used to."

Nevertheless, stem-cell scientists in countries with restrictive embryo-protection laws are excited by the potential of Stojkovic's achievement. "There is no destruction of an embryo," says Hans Schöler, a director of the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine in Münster, Germany. "If everything is confirmed, I don't see how anyone could attack such cell lines as unethical."

Schöler has been critical of another recent paper on 'ethically acceptable' embryonic stem cells. That paper, by Robert Lanza and his colleagues from Advanced Cell Technologies in Worcester, Massachusetts, proved in principle the idea that human embryonic stem-cell lines can be created without destroying embryos, but did not actually do it (see ''Ethical' stem-cell paper under attack'). This method, which Lanza is pursuing, could theoretically be used to create an embryonic stem-cell line from an embryo that grows into a healthy baby.

So why have researchers not done this before? Stojkovic says the procedure is difficult, and puts his success down to the methodology. "We had to try a lot of tricks to coax the blastomeres to grow," he says, including removing the sheath of the embryo and using very specific culture conditions.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OMG THEY ARE TURNING US INTO ZOMBIES IF GOD WANTED US TO HAVE LIVING DEAD CELLS IN US HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN US A SHUFFLING GATE AND PENCHANT FOR CANNIBALISM!
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rm



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
...HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN US A SHUFFLING GATE AND PENCHANT FOR CANNIBALISM!


who says he didn't?

*shuffles off*
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember first reading about this avenue of stem cell research months ago and if I recall the biggest issues were ethical ones, not technical, though that seem sto go with just about anything stem call related in this country.

*Edit I'm lazy

me wrote:
The most readily available and technologically simplistic alternative for gathering embryonic stem cells requires utilizing the tissue of failed embryos, a common and abundant by product of in vitro fertilization techniques. Considered to be “non-living entities” by all sides, there is an extremely narrow window for harvesting cells from these and this has lead to two major stumbling blocks: the actual effectiveness of using such cells due to possible corruption upon expiration and disagreement on when the exact moment of “death” occurs. Perhaps a more ethically sound method involves the mutation of the DNA of the parent germ cells so that they form a non-totipotent entity that can not only never become human but will automatically die after a brief period. This is however one of the more technologically difficult, and therefore expensive, alternatives due to the intricacies of such genetic manipulation. Another technologically simpler approach would involve using embryonic biopsies, a technique used currently to determine the presence of certain hereditary disorders, to harvest a few stem cells with out destroying the embryo. Ethically however this procedure can have dire consequences in that it can result in severe birth defects. The only alternative procedure with no ethical or moral issues is unfortunately the least feasible with current technologies. This involves taking a somatic multipotent stem cell and regressing it back to a pluripotent stage. The two main obstacle for this are that scientist can barely egress stem cells to the desired forms they require, let alone regress them into and earlier stage, and that even if they are successful in regression, if it continues too far back to the point of totipotency then they have just effectively produced a clone which carries with it a whole different set of moral and ethical issues.

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kame



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 1:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Paragraphs!

Darqcyde wrote:
The most readily available and technologically simplistic alternative for gathering embryonic stem cells requires utilizing the tissue of failed embryos, a common and abundant by product of in vitro fertilization techniques. Considered to be “non-living entities” by all sides, there is an extremely narrow window for harvesting cells from these and this has lead to two major stumbling blocks: the actual effectiveness of using such cells due to possible corruption upon expiration and disagreement on when the exact moment of “death” occurs.

Perhaps a more ethically sound method involves the mutation of the DNA of the parent germ cells so that they form a non-totipotent entity that can not only never become human but will automatically die after a brief period. This is however one of the more technologically difficult, and therefore expensive, alternatives due to the intricacies of such genetic manipulation. Another technologically simpler approach would involve using embryonic biopsies, a technique used currently to determine the presence of certain hereditary disorders, to harvest a few stem cells with out destroying the embryo. Ethically however this procedure can have dire consequences in that it can result in severe birth defects.

The only alternative procedure with no ethical or moral issues is unfortunately the least feasible with current technologies. This involves taking a somatic multipotent stem cell and regressing it back to a pluripotent stage. The two main obstacle for this are that scientist can barely egress stem cells to the desired forms they require, let alone regress them into and earlier stage, and that even if they are successful in regression, if it continues too far back to the point of totipotency then they have just effectively produced a clone which carries with it a whole different set of moral and ethical issues.


Doesn't that look nicer? And while we're on the matter... uhm, unwanted frozen embryos, medical waste (boo), each and everyone a potential human just waiting for a warm womb (whaaa?), or a viable, ethically sound method of researching one of the most, if not the most, promising fields in medicine today? (yay!)
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John Mytton



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

WheelsOfConfusion wrote:
OMG THEY ARE TURNING US INTO ZOMBIES IF GOD WANTED US TO HAVE LIVING DEAD CELLS IN US HE WOULD HAVE GIVEN US A SHUFFLING GATE AND PENCHANT FOR CANNIBALISM!


gait
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 3:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn homophones. Totally ghey.
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Dogen



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 6:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The shuffling gate is like the burning bush. You know... it's a metaphor, or something. The cannibalism, however, is just cannibalism.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's transubstantiation is what it is, y'see.
"This flesh is my flesh, this blood is my blood."
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Darqcyde



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kame wrote:
Paragraphs!


looks at the original word document

Nope, it's one paragraph. I did say I was being lazy Wink[/i]
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rm



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PostPosted: Wed Sep 27, 2006 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

poetry!

oh when do they die
these non-living things
these angels without wings
our in vitro beings?

they will never live
if you mutate the dna
if they will die right away
it makes everything ok

but it's all very tricky
and costs quite a lot
if only there was a gene
that generated green
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AfyonBlade



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Whenever artificial insemination is being carried out, there are at least 3 or 4 fertilized eggs that are either flushed down the toilet or frozen, just in case the one implanted doesn't catch. Now, I don't know about you, but if we can get some scientific knowledge that is on the right track to helping a lot of eople from some fertilized eggs that are just going to get thrown out anyway, I say do it. I don't see the point in waiting for them to die naturally. We 'kill' hundreds of them every year, anyway, and no one seems to care about THEM.
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WheelsOfConfusion



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

There are people who object to IVF partly on those grounds. That's partly why this line of research is seen as important, it divides the embryong stem cell objectors from those who object to IVF, besides taking away the moral objection to stem cell research itself (i.e. causing the death of a human life).
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kame



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, because we know fundamentalist christians really, really value life as long as the life in question is a fundamentalist christian.

I made a generalization there, didn't I?
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lily



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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2006 10:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

a fundamentalist christian, or a fetus of any denomination.
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