Posts Tagged ‘stem cells’

Wasting Stem Cells

It’s been too long since I’ve posted here, so I hope you’ll bear with my first post back being of the cupcake variety.  As a scientist who is also a religious Christian, you may be surprised to know that I approve of the president’s impending action to lift funding restrictions on human embryonic stem cells. (I actually used Bush-approved stem cells as a graduate student.)

While I’ve not had the time to post much about this issue in recent months, I have been reading others’ takes. Folks that find their way to this blog probably already know that The Washington Post with Newsweek have a nice blog/column about religion called On Faith.  Generally it gives good face time to science and religion topics. A piece likening stem cell ethics to organ transplantation caught my eye because I’ve thought about this connection before and wanted to read what an ‘expert’ would say about it. I’d recommend you check out the article by Susan Brooks Thistlewaite, and the counterpoint by Thomas J. Reese, but what I did a doubletake on was this image on the Post’s main page:


This type of tube is commonly used to store frozen cells, including stem cells. The tube pictured is thawed, because the red media is translucently clear and not a chunk of ice. I’m guessing the photographer wanted an illusion of pipetting into the vial. But in the picture, the scientist is actually pipetting into the cap. There is a good chance that the diagonal tube is a forceps (tweezers) holding the tube up, but with the cinematic techniques used so often on CSI and other science-enriched TV shows, I’m still putting my money on the theory that we’re supposed to think there’s pipet action going on.  And those precious stem cells are going to have to be thrown away once they touch a non-sterile surface!!!

Which is all to say, LOL.


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