Don't forget this announcement from Australia, where scientists at Griffith University are finding that the stem cells from the receptors in the nasal mucosa are amenable to differentiation to other cell lines and self-replicating.
Here's the Abstract from the original article (costs $25 to access the actual article and I promised not to publish it when I bought it, but the abstract and the CNN article ought to be sufficient unless you need to argue with a scientist.).
Dev Dyn. 2005 Mar 21; [Epub ahead of print]
Multipotent stem cells from adult olfactory mucosa.
Murrell W, Feron F, Wetzig A, Cameron N, Splatt K, Bellette B, Bianco J, Perry
C, Lee G, Mackay-Sim A.
Eskitis Institute for Cell and Molecular Therapies, Griffith University,
Multipotent stem cells are thought to be responsible for the generation of new
neurons in the adult brain. Neurogenesis also occurs in an accessible part of
the nervous system, the olfactory mucosa. We show here that cells from human
olfactory mucosa generate neurospheres that are multipotent in vitro and when transplanted into the chicken embryo. Cloned neurosphere cells show this multipotency. Multipotency was evident without prior culture in vitro: cells dissociated from adult rat olfactory mucosa generate leukocytes when transplanted into bone marrow-irradiated hosts, and cells dissociated from adult mouse olfactory epithelium generated numerous cell types when transplanted into the chicken embryo. It is unlikely that these results can be attributed to hematopoietic precursor contamination or cell fusion. These results demonstrate the existence of a multipotent stem-like cell in the olfactory mucosa useful for autologous transplantation therapies and for cellular studies of disease.
Developmental Dynamics, 2005. (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
PMID: 15782416 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
I wonder, if we could convince those desiring to cannibalize embryos for their body parts (their stem cells) that they are in fact playing god more by manipulating the stem cells from an individual's own body into the tissues needed, would these same 'enlightened' cannibals turn to adult stem cell research?
I think this is just more proof that the issue of embryonic stem cells is political, not scientific. The most promising research comes from adult stem cells, but the money gets diverted to embryonic cell research.
From a scientific point of view, it makes no sense (unless, of course, you are the researcher getting the funds)