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Embryonic Stem Cell Research


What if there was a way to cure previously in-curable diseases with the help of something in the very first stages of human life, but thousands upon thousands of lives had to be taken to perfect the use of this material? That is exactly what is happening with embryonic stem cells around the world. Pro-life activists, who originally organized to stop the abortions of unborn fetuses, were most angered with the process of actually destroying an embryo solely for research purposes. However, scientists, such as Dr. Andrew Yeager of the University of Pittsburgh, argue that embryonic stem cells are the future of medicine. This is really where, I think, so much of biomedicine is going to be going in the twenty first century, states Yeager. Embryonic stem cells are a new and exciting medical advance that should be researched, but the biomedical technology of the future is not worth the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives now.
Although the actual procedure of retrieving stem cells from embryos is highly complicated and scientific, the ideology is quite simple. The study of stem cells that were taken from human embryos has been around since the early nineties, but until the summer of 1998, a majority of the country had been none the wiser. The countrys non-knowledge of this very promising medical technology may have been a blessing in disguise. With the story rapidly hitting newsstands and telecasts around the country, pro and anti-research rallies were the top headlines. Literally defined, embryonic stem cells are undifferentiated, or unspecified cells that are unlike any other adult cell(Stem Cells: A primer). They are unique because they are totipotent, or have the ability to form into almost any of the 220 cell types in the human body. Embryonic stem cells are taken from the blastocyst, the name given to the stage of the embryo when it is four to six days old. The blastocyst consists of two cell masses; the first is an outer wall of cells that are already specified and will grow to become placental tissue and membrane. The inner mass, however, is a large group of unspecified stem cells that can be manipulated and eventually used for the treatment of diseases such as Parkinsons, Alzheimers, and Diabetes. Not only do stem cells show promise for cures to these diseases, but also they also offer hope for the sufferers and their families.
The method of taking stem cells from embryos has proved to be quite the controversy. There are other less controversial methods of obtaining stem cells, however none of those methods seem to retrieve stem cells with the same vitality and versatility as those taken from embryos (Reaves). Umbilical cord blood has proven to be effective in some cases. Keone Penn, a fifteen year old from Atlanta, Georgia, was cured of his sickle cell anemia by receiving a stem cell injection. Although stem cells from umbilical cord blood are high proportioned compared to are own bone marrow and circulating blood (Dr. Andrew Yeager), they are still pluripotent, meaning that they can develop into many of the 220 cell types in the human body, but not all, therefore limiting their usefulness. Another and most obvious alternative would be to take stem cells from already grown adult stem cells. However, scientists around the world soon discovered that there were many setbacks to using adult cells. The first is that adult stem cells are already specified, meaning that if a biomedical technician were to take out a blood stem cell, it could only be used for the replacement of blood cells. Embryonic stem cells, on the other hand, are not specified, or have not yet developed into a certain type of cell. The process is controversial because of the cloning that takes place in a culture. First, the nucleus from an unfertilized egg is extracted. The nucleus contains the chromosomes of the cell, and in this case, the chromosomes of the egg. An egg alone only contains half of the chromosomes necessary to grow into an embryo. After the nucleus from the egg has been successfully extracted, the nucleus from a somatic cell (cell that already has all of its chromosomes) is introduced ... more

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Destruction Of The Rain Forest

The Destruction of the Earths Rain Forests
In the time you can read this sentence, eight acres of tropical rain forest will have been bulldozed and burned out of existence (Bloyd 49). However, this destruction has been neglected and overlooked for years. Many people do not understand the long-term consequences of losing the earths rain forests. The rain forests have provided people with many natural resources and medicines. The benefits that rain forests provide to people will be destroyed if the depletion continues to be disregarded.
No matter where a person lives, even if it is not near a rain forest, the complete destruction of rain forests will affect living conditions. For years rain forests have provided countries around the word with valuable resources, minerals, lumber, and energy. In Brazil alone the rain forests contains 45% of Brazils hydroelectric power. The minerals found in the rain forests of Brazil are estimated to value 1.6 trillion dollars, while the lumber that the rain forests can provide total 1.7 trillion dollars (In the Forest 1). Nutrients from decomposing organisms can be found throughout rain forests, including in soil and in trees. To continue destroying forests also destroys the important materials that they are providing to humans.
The rain forests also provide important exports such as oil, nuts, and rubber. Brazilian nuts have become an important export and coffee has been South Americas main source of money. After Charles Goodyear learned how to use rubber to benefit humans the demand for it increased. The Amazon began to provide rubber for tires made around the world. Today the Amazon still provides the world with a large supply of rubber. Deforestation of rain forests decreases the amount of rubber South America supplies, and businesses will soon have to find a new supply of this resource.
The plants found in the rain forests can be useful to everyone around the world. The Kayapo, a people of the Amazon, are dependent upon plants in the Amazon. A research team came into the area that the Kayapo people inhabit. A team of scientists researched 1,200 plants in the area. Their results have shown that 98% of these plants are used in the Kayapo society. Of all the plants 45% of them were never known to science until the research team came (McCuen 58). The benefits of many more unknown plants could never be discovered if rain forests are continually destroyed. It is estimated that 95% of the plant and animal life in the rain forests of the Amazon will be destroyed before anyone has had a chance to test them for beneficial properties.
Despite proof from scientific research that many plants found in the rain forests help to cure viruses and diseases, the destruction of forests still continues. In the Unites States one fourth of all drugs that are prescribed have their roots in rain forests (McCuen 14). Rain forests contain a numerous amount of plant species that have not been discovered yet. One of these very plants could help to cure or treat medical patients, including those patients with AIDS or even cancer. Some plants found in the rain forests have been tested and are currently being used.  
SP-303 is a compound extracted from a plant found in South America. Two products have been derived from this compound: Provir and Virend. Provir helps treat respiratory infections in children, while Virend is a topical ointment used to treat the herpes simplex virus (Carr 5). Other products from medicinal plants include products that treat thrush and also non-addictive painkillers. The National Cancer Institute also determined that 70% of the plants that may help treat cancer grow in the rain forest (Jackson). Today many modern scientists work with shaman to determine the importance and value of plants in the rain forests. Destruction of the rain forests destroys these valuable plants, which may cause the loss of a cure for AIDS or other major diseases or cancers of all kinds(Medine 1).
The presence of rain forests on earth affects the climate around the world. If forests are destroyed no one can predict what will happen to the climate around the world. Rain forests provide fresh air.  The trees found in the ... more

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