Advantages Of Human Embryonic Stem Cells

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Compare advantages and disadvantages of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) for use in cellular therapy

The research of human embryonic stem cells (hESC) is talked about a lot in the field of medical research, not just by the scientists, but also by politicians, religious groups, etc. The discovery of stem cells is known as a medical sensation, with its research having the potential to cure many diseases. But there are still ethical issues standing in the way of this research, and due to this, different parts of the world have different rules and regulations regarding the research of stem cells and their use in cellular therapy, and it is even illegal in a number of countries. Before I dive straight into the advantages and disadvantages of their use in cellular therapy, I should talk about the basics of hESC and how we can make them. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent, i.e. they can differentiate into any type of cell in our body, and they can replicate indefinitely. We can create an embryonic stem cell line in more than one method, and most of them involve creating a fertilized egg (zygote), which eventually forms into a blastocyst. The inner cell mass of the blastocyst can be transferred onto a petri-dish containing a culture medium, where it is encouraged to divide. The diagram below illustrates this process.

(copied from Gepstein 2002)
Another method would be by a process known as Somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT), which is sometimes referred to as

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