University advances stem cell technologies amid political contention

Editors note: Upon request, some individuals interviewed for this article have been identified by first name only.

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The Statement is The Michigan Daily's weekly news magazine, distributed every Wednesday during the academic year.

It is exciting for me to think that this tiny group of cells could be the seed to help people suffering with diseases in the future, Patricia said.

In the Medical Science Building at the Universitys Medical School, I looked through a microscope at a 35-millimeter petri dish and saw microscopic organisms that could apparently one day provide treatments for a host of debilitating genetic diseases.

These microscopic organisms are called human embryonic stem cell colonies.

The room is the Universitys MStem Cell Laboratories, which develops human embryonic stem cell lines from disease-affected embryos. Last month The Michigan Daily reported on one such stem cell line developed from an embryo that had been donated by a University alumna.

But as the University looks to grow such efforts, it remains unclear how the current political landscape might alter the path of such research.

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The difficulty in studying genetic diseases is observing how they begin and how they grow. Without access to the formation of the cells, scientists cannot know what the developmental process is. Embryonic stem cell lines can to some extent solve this problem by showing scientists how a mutation develops.

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University advances stem cell technologies amid political contention

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