October 13, 2005

Gina Kolata Discovers the Amazing Hurlbut

It lives. It lives again. Jeb Bush's solution to the stem cell problem, The Hurlbut Suggestion, or semantic nuclear transfer, as we've begun to refer to it, has prompted the Times' Gina Kolata to essentially break the embargo on a major science journal's publication of studies that show, well, something we can't write down yet about how some folks have achieved success in producing embryonic cells that promise to anger nobody, by using techniques that make embryonic cells without awakening the Torquemadas of the right.

The research all stems, Kolata claims - stretching matters a bit - from Hurlbut and his brilliant idea that we could avoid the embryonic stem cell debate if we could just make little embryo-like-things that are somehow disabled enough (through the prior alteration of the adult somatic cell from which they derive) that their creation will not involve the potential for birth. It seems to us to be a cross between nuts and a smokescreen, and the idea has (we noted) not really persuaded folks from the world of right to life either.

If having read all of our discussion and incessant whining about the idiocy of these "almost an embryo, but not" ideas you are still thirsty for more, then don't wait another moment, surf on over right now to read Ms. Kolata's "Hunting for Ways Out of an Impasse" at the New York Times site.

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