Fear of reprisals is one reason why some scientists do not oppose therapeutic cloning, says a professor at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Associate Professor James Sherley says that "I have asked the leaderships of both the American Society for Cell Biology and the International Society for Stem Cell Research to conduct anonymous on-line polls of their membership regarding their views on human embryo research. Neither has been willing to do so. Many scientists who do not support human embryo research are afraid to speak out because of possible reprisals from powerful scientists who can affect grant success, publication acceptances, tenure promotion, and employment."
Professor Sherley is an expert in adult stem cells and an outspoken critic of embryonic stem cell research because, he argues, it is ethically and scientifically flawed. Not mincing his words, he says that many researchers "can often turn an amazingly blind eye to the contradictions in their position on therapeutic cloning. For example, the same scientists who argue that reproductive cloning would produce disease-ridden individuals insist that tissues created from therapeutic cloning will function normally!"
Cures will come from adult stem cells, he predicts. "It is pure scientific folly to place such emphasis on embryonic stem cells research to the exclusion of support for adult stem cell research," he says. "No matter what the hurdles are for success with adult stem cell-based therapy development, embryonic stem cell research faces the same hurdles and more."
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