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Stem Cell research is an application that scientist are developing and perfecting at a rapid pace Nowhere in the world can a person pick up a newspaper magazine or listen to a news show without hearing of some new discover or development The headlines look at where stem cells come from and how they should be researched Scientists are getting stem cells from several sources embryos humans and umbilical cords The bolder statement seems to be the ethical and legal controversy of the stem cell research Government officials and religious leaders around the world differ in their opinions As the stem cell debate rages on in the United States and other countries what is the best avenue to explore morally and ethically embryonic adult or cord blood All three of these approaches are very interesting complex and promising Stem cells are master cells that have the ability to differentiate into other cell types including those in the brain heart bones muscles and skin They are best described in the context of normal human development Human development begins when a sperm fertilizes an egg and creates a single cell that has the potential to form an entire organism This fertilized egg is totipotent meaning that its potential is total In the first hours after fertilization this cell divides into identical totipotent cells Approximately four days after fertilization and after several cycles of cell division these totipotent cells begin to specialize forming a hollow sphere of cells called a blastocyst The blastocyst has an outer layer of cells and inside the hollow sphere there is a cluster of cells called the inner cell mass The outer layer of cells will go on to form the placenta and other supporting tissues needed for fetal development in the uterus The inner cell mass cells will go on to form virtually all of the tissues of the human body These more specialized stem cells are called multipotent These are the
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