The research showed that one of the most important, but hotly debated, issues in biomedicine in recent years has been embryonic stem cell research. The fundamental questions involved in this debate relate to the status of human embryos and whether any type of research that involves the destruction of a potential human being is morally and legally defensible. The research also showed, though, that the vast majority of the stem cells used in this research would have been discarded and therefore destroyed anyway. Although a lack of international guidelines regarding embryonic stem cell research has contributed to the controversy, the research was consistent in describing the potential, but largely speculative, beneficial outcomes that might be achieved that will benefit humankind in myriad ways. While researchers continue their efforts to identify alternative sources for stem cells for their research, the fact remains that embryonic stem cells represent a valuable resource that could lead to medical breakthroughs and provide cures for many of the diseases that have plagued humankind for millennia.
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