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1.  Title:  Adult vs. Embryonic Stem Cells
Description: Making the distinction              It is unfortunate, and I believe deliberate, that the biotech industry, the media, and many lawmakers do not distinguish between embryonic and adult stem cells.  They most often refer simply to stem cell research, removing the moral implications of the word “embryonic.”  There is a difference.  Embryonic stem cells (ESC) comes from a human embryo that, as of this writing, has to be destroyed to retrieve those cells.  The adult stem cell (ASC) comes from tissue other than embryonic.  ASCs are found in adults, but also in umbilical cords, placentas, and even lost baby teeth.1               Many stem cell research advocates insist that ESCs hold the most promise for curing disease because they are pluripotent, which...

2.  Title:  Stem Cell Research 101
Description: What are stem cells?   Stem cells are cells that are undifferentiated.  This means they have not yet committed to becoming a certain cell type, like a brain cell or a muscle cell.  There are several designations for stem cells.  Unipotent stem cells can only become one cell type.  Multipotent stem cells can become multiple cell types.  Pluripotent stem cells can become most or all of the over 200 cell types in the human body, and totipotent stem cells can become all cell types in the body, plus other tissue like placenta cells.1   Stem cells have several sources.  Embryonic stem cells come from an embryo, 5-7 days after fertilization (the blastocyst stage).  These stem cells are considered to be pluripotent.  Stem cells are also abundant in umbilical cords, placentas, bone marrow, and several other tissues in the body.  These stem...