Scientists have developed a technique that allows stem cell lines to be produced from cells extracted from early (8-10 cell) stage embryos. The new method, described in a paper published in this weeek’s Nature, generates embryonic stem cell lines without interfering with the embryo’s developmental potential, i.e., leaving the embryos intact.
[snip]the team has taken cells from 16 spare IVF human embryos, and put them into culture. From a total of 91 cells, the researchers grew two embryonic stem-cell lines that have survived for eight months so far and are able to form different types of tissue.
The authors suggest this new protocol should address the ethical issues surrounding the use of embryos in stem cell research. An article from the Washington Post quotes White House officials saying however, that, “Any use of human embryos for research purposes raises serious ethical concerns… The President is hopeful that with time scientists can find ways of deriving cells like those now derived from human embryos but without the need for using embryos.”