Israeli human embryonic stem cell research is 2nd in world, with its researchers Just after the US in absolute (not per capita) numbers of publications in scientific journals up to the end of 2005 - way ahead of the UK, Korea, China, Singapore, Australia, Sweden and Canada.
The ranking was determined by German and American researchers and published in an article in the October issue of the journal Stem Cells.
Embryonic stem cells are in high demand as objects of research because of their ability to reproduce almost infinitely and to differentiate into many, if not all, cell types of the human body. Although numerous problems still remain, they are viewed as a potential source for engineering human organs and tissue to replace defective, ageing and diseased ones.
US research has been restricted because the conservative Bush administration has set limits on federal funding for such studies, allowing only existing lines to be experimented on and not permitting new embryos aborted or left over from in-vitro fertilization use to be studied (and killed).
Israel triumphed over all but one of the other 20 countries whose researchers have since 1998 published articles on hESC research in peer-reviewed journals, with 42 publications, compared to 128 by scientists in the US, 30 in the UK, 27 in Korea, 16 in China, 15 in Singapore (which was recently shamed by fabricated results from one lab that has since closed down), 13 each in Australia and Sweden, nine in Canada, five in Japan, four in the Netherlands, three each in Germany and Belgium, two each in Denmark and Finland and one each in the Czech Republic, Iran, Spain, Romania, Switzerland and Turkey. All the remaining countries produced no published hESC research at all.