Iowa State University professors and researchers will gather at a retreat next week to talk about bio-ethics. Coordinator Gary Comstock says it won’t be just a theoretical discussion.Some of the ISU scientists are doing research on stem cells, and the school’s bioethics program sponsors this forum every year. A New England firm recently announced it had cloned human cells, and President Bush has outlined restrictions he’d like to see on such research. Comstock heads ISU’s bio-ethics program and says stem cells can turn into anything, a cell for a liver or brain, and the hope that it could treat diseases like child diabetes has made the research controversial. On the other side are those who for religious or philosophical reasons oppose any use of fetal tissue. Comstock says scientists who work with cell development and experiments that could mean life and death — or health and sickness — don’t ignore the meaning of their work.He says the people he knows in the controversial field think about it all the time. He says the seminar’s a chance for them to discuss and share their opinions and views on the ethical implications of their work. One speaker will be Don Sakaguchi, who works with adult stem cells from bone marrow. The retreat for the scientists will be Thursday, January 10th.
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