Controversial in stem cell research
Stem cell research is a minefield of ethical problems because stem cells that offer the most potential for study must be harvested from human embryo that are few days old. In 1996, the birth of Dolly the sheep- the world first succesfully cloned mammal- ignited a firestorm of protest and concern. The most famous controversy in stem cell research has been Hwang’s claim of cloning a dog. Hwang’s work was able to offer an alternative to use of actual human embryo by cloning several human embryos, helping to eliminate the need for new embryos. Hwang claimed he had successfully cloned 30 human embryos, claims that have shown to be lies. Unfortunately, the use and study of embryonic stem cells are currently clouded by ethical controversy. Adult stem cells offers a unique alternative in that they may be isolated, studied, or manipulated without harming the donor. Currently, several obstacles for use of adult stem cells as therapy exist. First, the ability to identify most adult stem cells is impeded by lack of stem cell markers. Second, in vitro systems for manipulating adult stem cells populations are often not well defined. Finally, our understanding of how adult stem cells are regulated within their niche is in its infancy.