The role of stem cells in basic research
Stem cells offer opportunities for scientific advances that go far beyond regenerative medicine. They offer a window for addressing many of biology’s most fundamental questions. Watching embryonic stem cells give rise to specialized cells is like peeking into the earliest development of the many tissues and organs of the human body. Stem cell research may help clarify the role genes play in human development and how genetic mutations affect normal processes. They can be used to study how infectious agents invade and attack human cells, to investigate the genetic and environmental factors that are involved in cancer and other diseases, and to decipher what happens during aging.