Bush and the Stem Cells

BUSH AND THE STEM CELLS….Did President Bush’s defunding of embryonic stem cell research back in 2001 motivate scientists to redouble their efforts on adult stem cells? Does Bush therefore deserve some of the credit for yesterday’s dramatic breakthrough in creating stem cells out of adult skin cells?

Well, Shinya Yamanaka is a Japanese biologist from Kyoto University, so he probably wasn’t much affected by Bush’s decision. But how about the American scientist? What does he have to say?

One of the researchers involved in yesterday’s reports said the Bush restrictions may have slowed discovery of the new method, since scientists first had to study embryonic cells to find out how to accomplish the same thing without embryos.

“My feeling is that the political controversy set the field back four or five years,” said James Thomson, who led a team at the University of Wisconsin and who discovered human embryonic stem cells in 1998.

In other words: par for the course. Heckuva job, Bushie.