Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type

Thesis

Department

Life & Environmental Sciences

Abstract

It is maintained by many scientists that stem cell research is an important resource for new discoveries and understanding, especially in the newly developing field of regenerative medicine. However, research involving embryonic and fetal stem cells remains a highly controversial undertaking in today’s world, due to both ethical concerns and skepticism regarding the effectiveness of the treatments obtained through this research. In this thesis, I examine the differing arguments for the continuation of stem cell research, as well as their counter arguments, in an effort to find a compromise between the two positions. Additionally, I examine alternatives to the use of fetal and embryonic tissues in stem cell research and the role American politics plays in the continuation of this research. This investigation further establishes that a compromise between these two stances would be hard to find. However, alternative sources of stem cells, from adult individuals or otherwise, would likely be a more sustainable substitute to embryonic and fetal stem cells in research efforts. This is due to current political constrains and moral concerns against embryonic and fetal stem cells, in addition to new found efficiency in the methods for obtaining such alternatives.