Stem Cell Research Faces Uncertain Future in Missouri
The expansion of embryonic stem cell research in Missouri has "run into political and financial roadblocks," despite a ballot measure last year in which voters backed a constitutional amendment to protect the research, the New York Times reports.
State lawmakers who opposed the amendment continue to introduce new bills to prohibit some types of embryonic stem cell research.
Although legislative efforts to block the research have failed so far, research facilities in Missouri are having difficulty attracting stem cell specialists because of the uncertainty of the future of the research.
The amendment guarantees that any stem cell research or treatment approved by the federal government also will be allowed in Missouri. California is the only other state in which voters have approved a similar measure.
Opponents of the amendment are focusing the debate on an aspect of the research that authorizes therapeutic cloning or somatic cell nuclear transfer.
Opponents say the replication of cells, regardless of implantation in the uterus, is cloning. However, supporters contend the amendment bans human cloning.
Activists on both sides of the issue said they are preparing for another debate this fall that could result in a new ballot initiative (Davey, New York Times, 8/10).