Science researchers across the U.S. received good news earlier this month when President Barack Obama reversed a ban preventing federal funding for stem cell research. The ban, which was put into place in 2001 by former president Bush, limited taxpayer money to the 21 lines of embryos produced before 2001.
Many of these lines of embryos were not ideal for stem cell research and required extensive work by scientists in order to be made fit for study. This cost a great deal of time and money that could have been better spent finding cures for Alzheimer’s or Parkinson‘s disease.
The president’s decision to reverse this ill-advised, wrong-minded and ultimately detrimental ban so early in his term speaks well of his attitude toward scientific research. Beyond the obvious benefits of additional money and time for research into this area, the reversal of this ban will also create more jobs, an important consideration given the current state of the economy.
This decision will open many more opportunities for college students across the nation. It is important that universities do what they can to make it easy for – if not encourage – students to enter this field of research. Because of the lack of federal funding for stem cell research over the past eight years, it is likely that there are now significantly fewer scientists operating in this area than there would be otherwise.
This is a deficit that should be reversed as swiftly as possible.