LJWorld.com weblogs Dangerous Ideas
An unlikely stem cell leader...
An article in this week's The Scientist points out that Iran has been active in stem cell research. Iranian scientists have successfully reprogrammed embryonic stem cells to differentiate into other types of cells potentially useful in therapy.
The article states that Iran's emergence in this field relates to the fact that there is less of a religious objection to working with embryos since "ensoulment" is viewed as taking place a t 120 days. Of course the Iranians are hampered both by international restrictions which has led them to get much of their equipment on the black market as well as difficulty meeting scientists from other countries.
One American researcher, Sara Berga from Emory University who was able to visit Iran's major stem cell center was quoted as being shocked at how far the Iranians have come:
""I was shocked by how future looking [the Iranians] were with their science and medicine,...This is not a country with a lot of material resources, but they've really made a commitment to fundamental science."
So it looks like Iran is carefully targeting key areas of science and technology for development, be it nuclear energy, space science and now stem cell research.
The full article may require you to register...painless and The Scientist is really good about not sending lots of extra stuff: