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Public funding impacts progress of human embryonic stem cell research
Date:6/4/2008

Bolstered by supportive policies and public research dollars, the United Kingdom, Israel, China, Singapore and Australia are producing unusually large shares of human embryonic stem cell research, according to a report from the Georgia Institute of Technology in the June 2008 issue Cell Stem Cell. Aaron Levine, assistant professor of public policy and author of the book Cloning: A Beginner's Guide, studied how countries output of research papers related to human embryonic stem cell research compared to their output in less contentious fields. He found that even though the United States still puts out far more research in this field than any other single country, when one compares the amount of research in human embryonic stem cells to other forms of research in molecular biology and genetics, the U.S. lags behind.

"The U.S. is still the largest producer of research in this field, but compared to other similar fields, our share is smaller," said Levine, assistant professor in Georgia Tech's Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts. "You have to ask yourself, are we happy producing this relatively small share?"

In comparison, the study showed that the U.K. and Israel were producing substantially more research in this area than in other fields. According to the study, the U.K. produced 5.3 percent more research related to human embryonic stem cells than research performed in other areas of molecular biology and genetics, while Israel produced 4.6 percent more research. Levine attributed that to the long-held public and political support of human embryonic stem cell research in those countries.

"Both the U.K. and Israel have long-standing policies that support research in this field," said Levine, "And this support seems likely to have bolstered scientists' efforts to set up labs and acquire funding for their research."

But the biggest surprise was China and Singapore, with China producing 3.2 percent more human embryonic stem cell
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Contact: David Terraso
david.terraso@comm.gatech.edu
404-385-2966
Georgia Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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