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Regulating research

Jack Lessenberry's piece on stem cell research ("Stem cell spin," Metro Times, July 16) was very thoughtful but it overlooked a major consideration in the controversy: Regulation of stem cell research.

Lessenberry points out that much stem cell material can come from embryos currently discarded by in-vitro fertilization clinics. However, without regulation there are many potential issues, a number of which include:

Given the demand for embryos for stem cell research, will in-vitro fertilization clinics be able to meet the demand or will additional embryos have to be created for research purposes? Has anyone looked at this number?

Suppose a researcher wants to study a genetic disease for which there are no available embryos. Will he be allowed to create new embryos that do exhibit the desired genetic deficiency he would like to have to conduct his research?

Right now, embryo development is terminated at 128 cell embryos. Suppose a scientist want to study spinal cord repairs. Will he be able to grow the fetus until it develops a spine large enough for his proposed research?

Going a bit further, rather than growing the embryo in a petri dish, suppose the scientist develops a technique of using a mouse or a cow as a surrogate womb to grow the embryo? Would this upset anyone?

Without regulation, some scientist might decide to grow embryos to produce replacement organs for individuals with diseased organs.

I think few people want to give scientists a free rein on the embryo research they will conduct. Should we not know what regulations are in place before we are asked to fund stem cell research? —Clint Hyer, Trenton, N.J.


Pound for pound

Re: "Celebrity skin" (Metro Times, July 16), my moral peculiarities are suspect, for sure, but I will give my 15 cents here. "Dave Pounder" is a smarmy, unadjusted user. His descriptions and portrayals of women, and of himself, are disgusting.

There was a time when pornography could mean a bunch of things, but only really worked if it harbored people who were having a good time and not afraid of a camera or two. It's become ugly. Is that what we want? Ugly? Don't know what you people are thinking, but this is some seriously fucked-up bullshit.

Mr. Echlin, be a writer instead of some channel for this crap.

And I'm not a newbie. I've written, directed and acted in porn. It's boring if you're not on super-drugs and you're not getting laid by someone who matters. Uh-oh, there goes my morality.
—Nicholas Rhoades, Detroit


Cynical girl

Lily Tomlin said, "No matter how cynical you get, you can't keep up." ("Tomlin's rule," Metro Times, July 9). I think the corollary to this rule is: Those who don't know history are doomed to presume they live in the worst of times. From a Wikipedia article on Hazen Pingree: 100 years ago "Pingree was elected mayor of Detroit in 1889 on a platform of exposing and ending corruption in city paving contracts, sewer contracts, and the school board."

This makes me think of Crocodile Dundee, who, after switching on the first TV he's seen in 30 years, sees I Love Lucy and notes that television hasn't changed at all. —Patrick B. Haggood, Detroit


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