Breaking a taboo against creating human embryos expressly for medical experiences, scientists at a Virginia fertility clinic have mixed donated eggs and sperm to derive embryonic stem cells, the primordial cells at the crux of a national debate over federal research funding.
- Sheryl Gay Stolberg, New York Times, 2001
The artificial creation of human life continues to extend the frontiers of medicine. An announcement by a privately financed fertility clinic in Virginia that researchers had created human embryos in the laboratory for research capped the recent debate over stem cell research and cloning (Stolberg 2001). In an unrelated announcement one week later, researchers at NeuralStem in Gaithersburg, Maryland, were awarded a patent for a new method for producing stem cells from the central nervous systems of mammals, including animals, people and human embryos (Chartrand 2001). Such patent is not the first in biology. In the past five years, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued 191 patents to inventions that use the term "stem cell" in their description abstracts.
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