New Embryology with Focus on Stem cells Biology and their Ethical Issues

  • Mohsen Nokhbatol Foghahaee جنين شناسي جانوري، استاديار، عضو هيأت علمي دانشگاه شيراز.
Keywords: Stem cells, Embryo destruction, Ethic, Preclinical research, Limited resources


Recent advances in the field of embryology/developmental biology and specifically, in stem cell research, have opened up a wide variety of benefits for humanity. While some forms of cloning and stem cell applications were initially prohibited, they have now gained conditional acceptance from many scientists and ethicists.

Ethical issues of stem cell research are still the greatest concern not only among ethicists, but also among scientists, religious scholars, governments and politicians.

In this article, various topics concerning the new embryology, including stem cell biology will be reviewed, and several alternative sources of pluripotent stem cells which have been implicated or suggested recently will be presented. The goal of these new proposals is to avoid embryo destruction, the main objection to embryonic stem cell research. This article also suggests that apart from ethical issues, most of the technology for human embryo-saving alternatives is not yet secure and should not be applied before thorough research in animals and in preclinical research stages has been carried out.

The second part of the article explains the limited resources, technical complexity and unidirectional approach of the research on stem cells, which come mainly from females rather than males, which has advantages and disadvantages.


الف) فارسی

آرامش، کیاوش ـ (1390 ش.)، کرامت انسانی در اخلاق زیست ـ پزشکی، مجله اخلاق و تاریخ پزشکی، دوره 4، شماره 3

اصغری، فریبا ـ (1387 ش.)، ملاحظات اخلاقی در روش کمک باروری رحم جایگزین، فصلنامه باروری و ناباروری

خلفي، مسلم ـ (1385 ش.)، اهداي جنين در پرتو فقه و حقوق: پيامد هاي حقوقي، فصلنامه شوراي فرهنگي اجتماعي زنان، سال نهم، شماره 34

الحسنی، صفا ـ (1386 ش.)، اخلاق زیستی و TRA از دیدگاه اسلام (اهل سنت) و قوانین موجود در آلمان، فصلنامه پایش، سال 6

ب) انگلیسی

Annas, G.J. (1998) Why we should ban human cloning. The New England Journal of Medicine, 339 (2): 122-125.

Burley, J. 1999. The ethics of therapeutic and reproductive human cloning. Cell and Development Biology, 10: 287-294.

Buss, M. (1967) The beginning of human life as an ethical problem. Journal of Religion, 47: 244-255.

Dahl, E. (2003) Should parents be allowed to use preimplantation genetic diagnosis to choose the sexual orientation of their children? Human reproduction, 18: 1368-1369.

Dondorp, W. and Wert, G.D. (2011) Innovative reproductive technologies: risks and responsibilities. Human Reproduction, 26 (7): 1604-1608.

Geens, M., et al. (2009) Human embryonic stem cell lines derived from single blastomeres of two 4-cell stage embryos. Human Reproduction, 24(11): 2709-17.

Geraedts, J., et al., (2010) What next for implantation genetic screening? A polar body approach!. Human Reproduction, 25: 575-577.

Geraedts, J., Wert, G.M. (2009) preimplantation genetic diagnosis. Clin. Genet., 76: 315-325.

Gilbert, S.F., (2006). Developmental Biology (8th ed.). Sunderland, USA. Chapter 4 (77-99) and chapter 21 (655-692).

Gilbert, S.F., Tyler, A.L., and Zackin, E.J. (2005). Bioethics and the New Embryology. Sinauer Associates, Inc, W.H. Freeman & Company, USA.

Hochedlinger, K. and Jaenisch, R. (2003) Nuclear transplantation, embryonic stem cells, and the potential for cell therapy. The New England Journal of Medicine, 349(3): 275-86. /healnews/cloning.

Hubner, K., and 9 others. (2003) derivation of oocytes from mouse embryonic stem cells. Sciencexpress.

Hwang, W.S. and 12 others. (2005) Patient-specific embryonic stem cells derived from human SCNT blastocysts. Science (May 19): DOI:10.1126/science.1112286.

Hwang, W.S., Moon, S.Y. and 13 others. (2004) Evidence of a pleuripotent human embryonic stem cell line derived from a cloned blastocyst. Science, 303: 1669-1674.

Ilic, D., et al. (2009) Derivation of human embryonic stem cell lines from biopsied blastomeres on human feeders with minimal exposure to xenomaterials. Stem Cells Dev, 18(9): 1343-50.

Islamic Niew on Cloning. Recommendations of the 9th Figh-Medical Seminar. Rettrieved on March 22, 2004. 3 pages from:

Jaenisch, R. (2004) Human cloning – the science and ethics of nuclear transplantation. The New England Journal of Medicine, 351 (27): 2787-2791.

Jain, T., Missmer, S.A., Gupta, R.S. and Hornstein, M.D. (2005) Preimplantation sex selection: demand and preferences in an infertility population. Fertility and Sterility, 83: 649-658.

Klimanskaya, I., et al., (2007) Derivation of human embryonic stem cells from single blastomeres. Nat Protoc, 2(8): 1963-72.

McHugh, P.R. (2004) Zygote and "clonate" – the ethical use of embryonic stem cells. The New England Journal of Medicine, 351 (3): 209-210.

Melton, D.A., Daley, G.Q. and Jennings, G. (2004) Altered nuclear transfer in stem-cell research- a flawed proposal. The New England Journal of Medicine, 351 (27): 2791-2792.

Mertes, H., Pennings, G. and Steirteghem, A.V. (2006) An ethical analysis of alternative methods to obtain pleuropotent stem cells without destroying embryos. Human Reproduction, 21(11): 2749-2755.

Mitchell, A.A. (2002) Infertility treatment- more risks and challenges. The New England Journal of Medicine, 346 (10): 769-770.

Munne, S., et al., (2005) Self-correction of chromosomally abnormal embryos in culture and implications for stem cell production. Fertil Steril, 84(5): 1328-34.

Neumann, P.J., Gharib, S.D. and Weinstein, M.C. (1994) The cost of a successful delivery with in vitro fertilization. The New England Journal of Medicine, 331(4): 239-243.

Owen, C.M. and Segars, JH Jr (2009) Imprinting disorders and assisted reproductive technology. Semin Reprod Med, 27: 417-428.

Robertson, J.A. (1998) Human cloning and the challenge of regulation. The New England Journal of Medicine, 339 (2): 119-122.

Sandel, M.J. (2004) Embryo-ethics- the moral logic of stem-cell research. The New England Journal of Medicine, 351 (3): 207-209.

Spar, D. 2007. The egg trade-making sense of the market for human oocyte. The New England Journal of Medicine, 356 (13): 1289-1291.

Takahashi, K. and Yamanaka, S. (2006) Induction of pluripotent stem cells from mouse embryonic and adult fibroblast cultures by defined factors. Cell, 126(4): 663-76.

The President’s Council on Bioethics (2005) Alternative sources of human pluripotent stem cells.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) (2005).pp: 1-21. Human cloning.

Vincent, J.D. (2001) New therapies and their ethical implications in an international context. Proceedings of the intergovernmental bioethics committee, May 2001.

Weaver, T. (1999) New accuracy in sex selection. Agricultural research, May 1999.

Wert, G.D. and Mummery, C. (2003) Human embryonic stem cells: research, ethics and policy. Human Reproduction, 18(4): 672-682.

Wilmut, I., Schnieke, A.E., McWhir, J., Kind, A.J. and Campbell, K.H.S. (1997) Viable offspring derived from fetal and adult mammalian cells. Nature, 385: 810-813.

Zhang, S., et al., (2011) Retinol (vitamine A) maintains self-renewal of pleuripotent male germline stem cells (mGSCs) from adult mouse testis. Jornal of Cellular Biochemistry, 112 (4): 1009-1021.