Thursday, February 14, 2008

Letter to Detroit News on stem cell research

The following letter was submitted to the Detroit News in response to an editorial by Michael Staebler.
A recent editorial by Michael Staebler, a member of the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute Leadership Council, lamented over Michigan law which prohibits the killing of human embryos for research. The editorial claimed Michigan needed to change its law to "retain and recruit the best and brightest at Michigan" and that Michigan was seen as "a backwater for serious science." If so, why did Dr. Ivan Maillard, whom stem cell researcher Sean Morrison labeled "the top young stem cell biologist in the country on the job market last year" in a Life Sciences Institute publication, decide to come to the University of Michigan in 2007 in spite of "intense competition from other research universities?" Why would "the top young stem cell biologist" wade through the supposed "backwater" of Michigan with its supposedly "medieval mentality" when other universities recruited him so heavily?

Maybe it's because some scientists don't see killing human embryos for research as the end-all and be-all of science. Or maybe it's because cutting edge stem cell work doesn't require the killing of human embryos.

Too often proponents of killing human embryos for research tend to gravitate towards wild exaggerations when they lack solid arguments.