Public opinion may be behind embryo experiements
A survey commissioned by a coalition of organisations with a common interest in stem cell research, has found that a significant majority of the British public supports the use of human embryos for medical research in certain circumstances.
Seven out of ten of those surveyed said the use of human embryos was acceptable in research to find treatments for serious diseases and in fertility research.
However, just one in six felt that it was acceptable to use human embryos in all forms of medical research.
The survey was commissioned by several organisations including the Parkinson's Disease Society and the Medical Research Council (MRC).
Some scientists believe that the use of stem cells offers great potential for yielding new treatments for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's disease, leukaemia, strokes, heart attacks and spinal cord injuries.
Opponents of such research however propose that stem cells may be obtained from other sources.
Stem cells are cells at an early stage of development which have the potential to turn into many different types of tissue. They can be taken either from adult tissue samples, or samples taken from human embryos.
But it has been suggested that embryonic stem cells may prove to be much more versatile in being adapted for medical use than adult cells.