Human stem cell research, because of its potential for both transformative sources of knowledge and for translation into widespread practical applications, has been a subject of ethical, religious, and policy debates since the first cells were characterized. The technology touches on some of humanities most urgent concerns and some of our most fundamental narratives. Stem cell research is characterized by a swiftly moving knowledge base, with first human embryonic (hES), then induced pluripotent cells (iPS) being seen as the best new hope in the search for cures to diseases. Each new advance in science brings new ethical and moral quandaries to the debate. This presentation will outline the history of ethical questions surrounding stem cell research, describe the variety of responses to such concerns, and define some of the international policy that has emerged to create ethical frameworks for ongoing research on stem cells. We will consider what questions, if any , can be understood as settled within a general consensus, and what questions may be raised by the future directions of stem cell research.


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  • Received: 05 March 2012
  • Accepted: 28 March 2012
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