Science Alert Australia & New Zealand reports that Western Australia’s Upper House has rejected human embryonic stem cell research and human cloning.
Dr. Millet, director of Curtin University of Technology’s Centre for Applied Ethics and Philosophy explains why.
“The whole debate has changed, and it’s changed dramatically since the Yamanaka discovery because, while both his method and therapeutic cloning technologies have their problems, the advantage of the Yamanaka method is that you get 100 per cent of the donor’s own DNA and, of course, collecting skin cells involves minimum invasiveness and trauma. Most importantly, it is far less morally problematic than creating an embryo with the sole purpose of destroying it.”
He goes on to make the pragmatic public policy case in addition to the scientific and ethical case above:
“One of the arguments against therapeutic cloning is that the research has a low likelihood of a short- to medium-term outcome,” Dr Millett says. “So we have to ask ourselves, what is the opportunity cost of funding this research? By spending millions on embryonic stem cell research, what other important science is missing out? Are there better things to spend our money on?
What will the result be? Again, Dr. Millet:
“This could be the turning point for stem cell science here. It is entirely feasible that the (Upper House) decision could lead to [Western Australia] becoming one of the world centres of research into alternatives to embryonic stem cell research.”
What US state will take a similar leadership position on adult stem cell research and attempt to establish itself as a “world center of research into alternatives to embryonic stem cell research?”