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Scientists make ethical stem cells from skin of a rat

Scientists have found ways to prepare stem cells from skin of an adult rat, without harming embryos. The discovery, which was done successfully on rats, will remove the ethical concerns of using stem cells for various medical purposes. Researchers have shown that it is possible to create stem cells similar to those present in embryos from skin. So far, mature cells were considered incapable of producing stem cells. The success of the research on rat has made scientists hopeful of being able to do this in case of humans as well. If this happens, the stem cells obtained from skin cells of a person will be able to produce cells and tissues that would be genetically an exact copy of the original, dispelling any rejection by the body that was probable for a stem cell obtained from an embryo. Stem cells are totipotent–capable of developing in any kind of tissue present in the body. Such a capability is of immense benefit as they can be used to replace the damaged cells and tissues, thus providing possible cure for several diseases like diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. The use of stem cells from embryo had ethical and moral concerns as the collection of stem cells damages the embryos. This many said is tantamount to murder or cannibalism. The new discovery, if successful for humans, will pave new ways for curing several diseases including those which were till now could not be treated. This will surely help cure many diseases and body defects. An advancement in this technique may also provide body organs for transplantation. The possibilities are immense but some concerns will continue to remain. The stem cells could be used rampantly for cosmetic purposes like skin grafts. This may also open a new arena of spare parts for human bodies as is available for machines. This will obviously dent the magical power of life. The cliche remains valid even here – every coin has two sides. It’s all up to us to choose the positive side. Learn more about stem cells. Source: BBC, Daily Mail Image Source: Canada.com