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Every year millions of people suffer and eventually die from serious and largely incurable degenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and diabetes.

Much recent interest has focussed on whether research on stem cells — which have the potential to develop into any of the body’s tissues — could yield treatments or even cures for these diseases.

But such research raises ethical questions if the stem cells come from embryos.

Reference: Nature 414, 129 (2001)

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