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Taken Together

A new sociological study finds that banning human embryonic stem cell research could have a negative effect on the field of human induced pluripotent stem cells, reports Nature's News blog. Stanford University's Christopher Scott and his colleagues analyzed data from 2,086 hESC and hiPSC publications and conducted in-person surveys of 118 researchers, at the 2010 International Society for Stem Cell Research meeting, to determine how hiPSC were used after they were discovered and to then ascertain how that approach has affected hESC research. "It is clear that iPSCs are not eclipsing hESCs but have instead emerged as a complimentary technology," Scott and his team report in Cell. Indeed, the team found that 62 percent of pluripotent cell papers used both iPSCs and hESCs. "We now have new data pointing to 'collateral damage' that could be caused by ill conceived and politically motivated policy prescriptions," the authors say, adding, "A major finding from our study is that iPSCs and hESCs are deeply intertwined and interdependent technologies."