Lots of Politics
Things ramped up a little bit.
Mississippi has joined the ranks of states intending to forbid embryonic stem cell research. The Mississippi House yesterday passed a bill that bans embryonic stem cell research, but it does allow Mississippians to travel out of state to participate in such research. (How generous! Imagine if you couldn’t cross state boundaries to engage in intellectual work. Sheesh.) The news is reported in the Clarion-Ledger
and in the Daily Journal
. The Daily Journal is more comprehensive, and reports that the bill specifically bans the SCNT procedure known as therapeutic cloning but does not ban stem cell research that uses a fertilized egg. An opponent of the bill, John Mayo, was quoted in both articles as saying, “We are politicians who don't know squat, and we shouldn't be dabbling in this.”
The Kansas City Star
reports that in Missouri U.S. Senator Jim Talent withdrew his support for a state bill that would criminalize forms of embryonic stem cell research. He said it was too broad and cited scientific advances which make it possible to “get stem cells without cloning an embryo.” I presume he is talking about the research late last year, in which researchers derived stem cells by separating a cell from a blastocyst, which allows the blastocyst to develop normally. I am not aware if this method is being used extensively in research yet. Talent is up for re-election.
In Maryland, the Lt. Governor, Michael Steele, who is running for the U.S. Senate, compared embryonic stem cell research to the Holocaust in an answer to a question after a speech to the Baltimore Jewish council. Oops. He later apologized. Steele, who is black, also referred to slavery in his answer. Steele had recently returned from a trip to Israel and apparently had the Holocaust upfront in his consciousness. An AP story is on the website for WBOC
In California, the Citizens’ Independent Oversight Commission for the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine is meeting today at Stanford University to discuss a number of proposed regulation and other issues, including royalty pay-outs to the state. An overview of the agenda is on Genetic Engineering News
. This will presumably generate some more news this weekend. The San Jose Mercury News
also has a story, but you may have to log in to read it.
And on the national front, CBS
will have a segment on 60 Minutes this Sunday about the federal restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. There’s a short story on their website.