The Stem Cell Harvesting Method That Doesn’t Exist

Wesley J. Smith finds that The Economist, almost alone among the mainstream media, gets it right on the embryonic stem cell “breakthrough”:

“The firm’s success is not, however, quite as clear-cut as it seems. The researchers only had 16 embryos…, so to maximise the number cells they had to play with, they used most of the cells in each. That, of course, destroyed the embryos, so their technique is only a stepping stone to the desired outcome of working from a single cell each embryo. Even then, they were able to establish only two stable cell lines from some 91 initial cells.

“Nor was it clear whether the cells cultured together in this series of experiments came from the same or different embryos. That matters because single-cell biopsies would only work with this method if cells from unrelated embryos can nurture each other…” (Page 64, August 26, 2006 edition.)

This is just a bit different from the way it was reported by the most of the press:

U.S. researchers report they have harvested embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo, opening a path that could overcome ethical objections to the life-prolonging research…

How exactly did the press get from “destroyed the embryos” to “without destroying the embryo”?


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