Last week, Harvard scientists announced that they have begun a privately funded program aimed at creating the world’s first cloned human embryonic stem cells. Their goal, they said, is to use the cells to study the development of several devastating diseases like diabetes and genetic blood disorders and, hopefully, to find treatments for them. Scientists say that embryonic stem cells hold the most promise for developing innovative new treatments for diseases, since the cells may be changed into any of the human body’s cells. But the process is not without controversy. To get the cells, scientists destroy days-old embryos, which religious and conservative critics equate with taking human lives. In 2001, President George W. Bush cut off federal funding for new embryonic stem-cell development and research. So Harvard and the University of California at San Francisco, which relaunched its embryonic stem-cell program earlier this year, must depend on private funding. That’s not the only challenge that U.S. embryonic stem-cell researchers face. Late last year, a South Korean scientist admitted that he had falsified research, after he and his team published a paper in the journal Science claiming to have produced 11 stem cell lines from cloned human embryos-an achievement hailed […]

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