Monday, September 27, 2010

National Stem Cell Doings: Rat Brains and Legal Wrangling

How is it going to go in the federal case involving hESC stem cell research?

A UC Davis scientist opines – that's one of those media words you see in print but rarely hear anyone utter – that the matter could go 2-1 for funding of research but possibly 2-1 against, given that two of the judges are appointees of young Bush.

You can read more from Paul Knoepfler here on his analysis of today's proceedings along with comments from his readers.

Also on the national stem cell front – sort of – is a column by the Maureen Dowd of the New York Times. On Sunday, she quoted Stanford's Irv Weissman on some monkey business in the US Senate race in Delaware.

He made his comments to Dowd in response to a 2007 statement by the Republican candidate in Delaware, who shall remain nameless. The candidate declared,
“American scientific companies are crossbreeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains.”
Weissman, who knows something about rodents, performed the first experiments injecting human brain-forming stem cells into the brains of immune-deficient mice 10 years ago.

Dowd wrote,
“(Weissman) assured me that the mice did not suddenly start acting human. 'There were no requests for coffee from Minnie,' he said. 'The total number of human brain cells in the mouse brain was less than one in a thousand. I don’t think we would get a mouse with a full human brain. And even if the mouse made it to a human mouse it would still have a mouse-brain offspring.'”
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