After a long ban in embryonic stem cell research, Michigan gets a chance to restart its study with the Proposal 2. Stem cell research is likely to get final approval. But approval, would not come without some challenges.
Various groups are trying to prevent the study. David Doyle, spokesman for the opposition group Michigan Citizens Against Unrestricted Science & Experimentation, cautioned that the language goes too far because it would bar legislators from regulating how stem cell research is conducted.
They fear the lack of regulation could be a step toward human cloning, which would remain banned in Michigan under Proposal 2.On the other hand, Sean Morrison, director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Stem Cell Biology, said Michigan researchers need to work in a less restrictive environment to compete effectively.
Funding is sure to be high on the list of priorities for researchers who want to avoid the strings attached to federal dollars.To obtain federal funding, scientists must work on lines that were created before 9 p.m. Aug. 9, 2001, using donated embryos created through in-vitro fertilization.
To bypass the need for federal funds, U-M opened a private stem cell research lab in 2007. Scientists at U-M are trying to import embryonic stem cell lines from private labs in states like California, which won voter approval to allow the investment of tax dollars into private research.
If Proposal 2 fails and federal rules are eased, observers say researchers in Michigan — one of the five most restrictive states — would be hampered at a time when researchers in other states would have more freedom.