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Posted January 29, 2011
A very good introduction to stem cells
Over the past decade or so stem cells have become a household term. Most of this is based on the significance that these cells have in building and repairing of the living tissues. Consequently, it is believed and hoped that the mastery over these cells will give us an unprecedented access to new therapeutical techniques and it would advance medicine by an unprecedented amount. However, the use of stem cells, particularly those that are derived from embryos, is fraught with serious ethical challenges. Unfortunately, most of the debate and issues that are raised are not readily accessible, because the sheer number and variety of terms, concepts and ideas can be overwhelming and subtle differences can have major consequences, both biologically and ethically. In light of that, a good introductory book to the topic of stem cells is invaluable and "Stem Cell Now" fits that task perfectly. It is supremely informative without getting overwhelming with technical jargon, and it's accessible and eminently readable. Its primary purpose is to describe the science behind the stem cells, what we in fact know about them, and in this respect it is a valuable resource. The book, however, does not shy from advocacy and Christopher Scott is a clear proponent of lifting most serious restrictions on the use of stem cells in research in the United States. On the other hand he is not dogmatic about his positions and he recognizes that there is a serious ongoing debate on the subject. He presents the opposing viewpoints as well without deriding them or being condescending, and the reader is free to form his or her opinion, or to seek out further information on the subject.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
One danger of writing a book on a very active ongoing field of research is that new discoveries are made almost daily, and some major new breakthroughs have come about since this book came out of print (like successfully inducing human adult somatic cells to become stem cells.) However, the body of knowledge and the scientific understanding that has been presented in this book has already had a pretty long shelf life and it will continue to be a valuable resource and a good first introduction to stem cells for years to come.