Stem Cell Researchers Wary Of Republicans

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BOSTON, Aug. 7 (UPI) — Scientists say they are concerned Republican presidential candidates are lining up against federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The Boston Globe said Sunday virtually the entire GOP field backed the idea of scaling back stem cell funding, a stance that has researchers worried the field of study would wither and die out.

“While many of us in the field end up raising private philanthropy to do the work, it is very important that labs have access to NIH dollars so more research can actually be done,” said Dr. Leonard Zon, president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research.

Embryonic stem cells come from embryos donated by fertility clinics. Their properties are considered far more flexible than non-embryonic cells, but anti-abortion activists allied with Republicans want experimentation on them banned.

At the same time, supporters of stem cell research say the field could produce major breakthroughs and spawn big advances in the coveted biotechnology industry.

The Globe said while the Obama administration greatly expanded the number of specific stem cell lines that could receive federal funding, most GOP hopefuls have yet to say how many lines they would remove from the approved list.

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