|MadSci Network: Cell Biology|
Dear Jo, This is a difficult question to answer briefly (without doing your dissertation for you) but I can give you a few topics where embryo research is ongoing as a starting point for you to research further. All of them are particularly “ethical”. You may also consider legal ethics as a discussion point; some countries allow more research than others. The HFEA is the UK governing body on embryo research and really leads the way for the rest of the world; they might be a good source of information on what is currently permitted and therefore have information on ongoing research. You may consider not just writing about the benefits of these advances but discuss the problems too. Watch the movie/film GATTICA. Assisted fertility: Optimum stage at which a fertilized embryo is transferred back to the mother. “Healthy embryos” which ones should you use when you have 6 in a petri dish. Benefits and possible disadvantages of different IVF procedures such as ICSI. IVF – In vitro fertilization ICSI – Intra cytoplasmic sperm injection Cloning: All research on cloning has a large element of embryo research and you don’t get much more ethically controversial. You must have heard of Dolly the sheep. They are now trying to bring extinct animals back from extinction, using embryos of non extinct relatives (mammoth DNA - elephant embryo)- Jurassic Park!!!! Prenatal diagnosis: Removal of one or more of the cells of an early embryo to perform karyotyping and/or genetic analysis before transplanting the remaining cells of an embryo back to the mother. Thus eliminating the risk of Down’s syndrome and other genetic abnormalities. Huge future prospects once the genes responsible for certain diseases are identified. Hope this gives you some good areas to start from, good luck with the dissertation Steve
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