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First you have to understand what we are dealing with and the definition of what we are speaking about. Stem cells are cells found in all multi cellular organisms . They are characterized by the ability to renew themselves through mitotic cell division and differentiate into a diverse range of specialized cell types. Research in the stem cell field grew out of findings by Ernest A. McCulloch and James E. Till at the University of Toronto in the 1960s. The two broad types of mammalian stem cells are: embryonic stem cells that are isolated from the inner cell mass of blast cysts , and adult stem cells that are found in adult tissues. In a developing embryo , stem cells can differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues. In adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells, but also maintain the normal turnover of regenerative organs, such as blood, skin, or intestinal tissues. For purposes of the current controversy, these cells are known as "pluripotent stem cells". These are specialized cells which are formed at the very beginning stages of human embryo development and are part of what is known as a blast cyst. These cells are unique because at this stage in development they are not specialized and have the capacity to develop into 130 different human tissue types. Political pressure to expand the level of government-funded stem cell research has increased amid ongoing reports of the potential medical efficacy of such treatments. Congress passed legislation authorizing such expansion See senate vote See House vote but President Bush vetoed the legislation based his religious convictions. There is some indication from scientific advances of the improved potential of non-embryonic stem cells. The medical possibilities which might result from stem cell research continue to excite the scientific community. There are some indications that progress is being made in developing alternatives to the use of embryos in pursuing this technology. If this happens, most political/ethical concerns regarding the matter will be resolved. The competitive aspects of this research were evidence by recent revelations that a South Korean scientist had faked research that had purported replicated individual DNA. The stem cell controversy was an issue in the 2008 Presidential campaign in part because of the recent death of former President Ronald Reagan from Alzheimer's disease. Some of his family members have been vocal advocates of the potential of stem cell research to provide treatments for such conditions and his son spoke at the Democratic convention on the subject. Polls taken at that time indicated that the research proposals have widespread public support even among Republican voters. Voters in California went so far as to approve a ballot measure to establish a public funded stem cell research program in that state. As in past election years, the 2008 Democratic platform supports funding this research. The 2008 Republican platform continued to
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