Deakin Communicating Science 2016

EES 200/101

Embryonic Stem Cell Research-What is it?

Some say it is yet another miracle in science while others debate on the ethical and social implications of even conducting the research. But the effects of Embryonic Stem cell research on ever evolving technology cannot be dismissed due to the progression it allows on human evolution.
This series of blog posts will break down on why stem cell research is important and will also assess the different arguments that people put forward in regards to the ethical concerns that are present.

So, What are Stem Cells? mitosis

Stem Cells are the unspecialised cells; the foundation of how the human, plant and animal bodies develops. The two main characteristics that distinguish stem cells from the other types of cells in the body:

  • The first is that they can renew themselves through a process called Cell Division where the parent cell forms two new daughter cells through DNA Replication in Somatic Cells which are all the cell types in the body except eggs and sperm
  • The second characteristic is that they can differentiate into more specialised; tissue or organ specific cells. Other than these two conditions, stem cells behave and differ greatly to each other.


Embryonic stem cells, Somatic/ adult stem cells and Induced Pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are the three kinds of stem cells that scientists work with but iPSCs on humans were only introduced in late 2007

Somatic stem cells are taken from the growing body from places such as the bone marrow and blood where they are in charge of giving rise to new tissue, restoring damaged cells and also renewing ageing tissue. Induced Pluripotent stem cells are special as they allow already specialised adult stem cells to be reprogrammed into unspecialised stem cells but the main focus of this blog is to look at embryonic stem cells.

Embryonic Stem Cells 

16988272-Illustration-showing-stages-in-human-embryonic-development-Stock-Vector.jpgHuman embryonic stem cells which are also called ES cells are found in blastocysts which is the earliest stage of embryonic development at the age of 5-7 days after egg and sperm fusion. The embryos for research come from donations given by patients who are infertile and can also be donated from those who want to abort their pregnancies. These embryos would otherwise be disposed of hence providing them to stem cell research programs would be beneficial for future generations.

The Debate

The main reason for the ongoing debate on embryonic stem cells is the ethics behind whether it is okay to do tests and research on an embryo that has the potential to turn into a human being and if it is okay, at what “age” of the embryo is it principled to conduct said tests.
But if the blastocysts had the end outcome of being destroyed, why not use them to cure undermining health conditions?


Find out why in the next post- Lets Debate- Embryonic Stem Cells
















One comment on “Embryonic Stem Cell Research-What is it?

  1. Pingback: Lets Debate Part 2- Embryonic Stem Cells | Deakin Communicating Science 2016

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This entry was posted on April 12, 2016 by in Burwood - Wednesday 12pm, Uncategorized.

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