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Unformatted text preview: An Islamic Perspective on Stem Cells Research [ The Amazing Qur'an ] [ The Bible, The Quran and Science ] [ An Islamic Perspective on Stem Cells Research ] [ Universe ] [ Celestial Organization ] [ Evolution of Heavens ] [ Conquest of Space ] [ Embryology in Qur'an ] [ Quran and Modern Science ] [ Science Books ] by Dr. Muzammil Siddiqi Q: What is the position of Shariah on stem cells research according to majority of our scholars? (Aamer Mahmoud) A: Let us first understand what is this research and what are the issues involved in it. Following is a brief explanation written by my son Dr. Imran Siddiqi, a Ph.D. in Genetics. He says: The human body consists of many kinds of cells. These cells are very diverse in their structure and function. For example, neurons that make up the brain are very different from cells that make up our liver, cells that allow our heart to pump blood look nothing like the cells that make up our skin. In spite of their vast differences, however, all cells in the human body contain the same DNA. DNA provides the information, in the form of genes, which is necessary to make all these various cell types. Put simply, liver cells are liver cells because only a small set of genes are turned on in these cells while the rest are shut off. In the same way, cells in the brain or skin have their own set of genes activated, and other sets turned off. However, because all cells contain the entire set of DNA, they possess the information needed to make any kind of cell, though most of this information is not being used. How do cells become specialized to form the different organs in the body? Human development begins when a sperm cell fuses with an egg cell. This initial fertilized egg, although it is only a single cell, is able to form an entire human being. This cell starts to divide into additional cells, which at this early stage are all able to produce a complete organism. These cells are therefore called totipotent, meaning they have total potential to produce all cell types present in a living human. As development proceeds and an embryo forms, these cells become pluripotent, meaning they have potential to become many different kinds of cells but can no longer give rise to a complete embryo. Later in development, through a process called cell differentiation, these pluripotent cells eventually give rise to the different and more specialized kinds of cells in the body and the different organs begin to form. What are stem cells? Stem cells are cells that have not gone through the process of cell differentiation and therefore have the potential to give rise to many different kinds of specialized cells. For instance a stem cell could be used to produce liver cells, brain cells, heart muscle cells, blood cells, etc. The current sources of stem cells include embryos (which, as explained above, consist of pluripotent cells) and fetal tissue. In addition, some recent evidence suggests that even adults have a small number of mulitpotent cells that can be isolated and can later differentiate into various cell types. One source of stem cells is from embryos that were formed from a process called in vitro...
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This note was uploaded on 08/31/2011 for the course STS 302 taught by Professor Nkriesbert during the Summer '08 term at N.C. State.
- Summer '08
- The Bible