干细胞蒙昧主义

5月19日,一组韩国科学家在《科学》杂志上公布了第一次将分离的人类胚胎干细胞专用于与不同年龄男女病人的DNA相匹配的研究结果。第二天,英国新堡大学(Newcastle University)的科学家们就宣布他们已经用捐献的卵子和干细胞的遗传物质成功培育了一个人类胚胎。

这两项突破成为了干细胞研究中令人瞩目的一个进步。胚胎干细胞是多能干细胞,也就是说他们具有发育为任何一种人体组织的能力。这尤其给那些遭受脊髓损伤和脊髓疾病的人带来了巨大希望。多年来的研究,以及全世界各地患者的强烈请求,终于打开了一条通向体细胞核转移技术之路,也就是人们所知道的“治疗性克隆”——那也许会为我们所有人的健康带来跨时代的改变。

与这个最新发现相比,他们的宣布时机也同样引人关注,就在美国国会就是否对体外受精(但从未植入子宫)过程中产生的胚胎干细胞的研究扩大联邦基金投票的那天晚上。这两大宣布比意大利为寻求改变去年通过的禁止体外受精和干细胞研究的法律的全民公投早了一个月,意大利全民公投是一种颇为流行的、在最大范围内就发生在任何地方的任何事情进行协商的方式。

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