Name Casey Wilds
Profession High School Science Teacher
What do you know about stem cells?
I know that they are the undifferentiated cells that come from the embryo before the cells are determined to be a specific organ or tissue.
Are you aware of what they are purportedly capable of?
At the present time research shows that there's a possibility that they can be used to develop tissue, nervous tissue in particular because it doesn't regenerate naturally in the body. So it could help with spinal chord injuries and other nerve disorders, to correct them.
Does your curriculum include the Cell Theory? To what extent?
Yes it does. We deal with the cell theory in talking about where cells come from and the regeneration of cells. Also to use it as a comparison for talking about other theories?
Do you feel the Cell Theory is controversial in any way?
I don't, I think there's been enough research and there's been enough work done that there's no other explanation out there as for cells and where they come from.
Do you spend time covering different types of cells?
We talk about different types of cells as they pertain to human anatomy and physiology in general. So we'll talk about the difference between nerves cells and different organs and tissues.
Does your curriculum involve stem cells? To what extent?
We do a unit on development and at that point we talk about differentiation so we talk about stem cells as they relate to the overall development of an organism from fertilization to free living.
How do you personally feel about stem cell research?
I think that stem cell research is amazing. The possibilities of what might be done, the number of people that might be helped….if all of the research is accurate and comes to fruition if we continue on the path we're hopefully headed in right now.
Do you agree with the methods of stem cell collection?
I'm not sure of all the methods involved in stem cell collection but I think that if the cells are out there and they're just going to be disposed of or they're not going to be used in anyway there should be something done with them. And with stem cell research, the possibilities outdraw the arguments against the research.
Where do you think stem cell research funding should come from?
I think a good bit of it should come from government funding. But I think that there's also, as with any new scientific development, private companies and private funding organizations will play a part in it, just because I think that the technology and the things that will come out of it will be used for profit. Just like drug research and things like that through private companies. But I do think the government should play some part in it.
How do you feel about President Bush's decision to inhibit research on new stem cell lines?
I thought it didn't make a whole lot of sense. I don't think that they have enough information to really know what's going on and really make an informed decision to say you can only use these cell lines that are currently existing because those cell lines at some point are no longer going to be useful. To say that you can do research with this, but you can't do any new research is….I don't want to say stupid, but that's kind of the word that comes to mind.
Does your curriculum involve cloning? To what extent?
We talk about cloning when we talk about genetics. We talk about it more from the genetic issues as to what's involved in cloning and what a clone actually is and how it relates to other types of reproduction. I do a research project with the kids all dealing with ethics and ethical issues where they go in depth into pros and cons and really go out there and deal with what the issues actually are and what the facts are and what is actually made up on different sites and stuff like that.
How do you feel about therapeutic cloning? (Cloning with the express purpose of creating organs for transplant.)
I think therapeutic cloning is a good thing, I mean if you can create organs for transplantation based on the number of people who die on a yearly basis simply waiting for an organ transplant. If you can do something to create some organs that can be used for the same purpose, I think the benefits are definitely there.
How do you feel about reproductive cloning? (Cloning with the express purpose of creating a fetus.)
I don't really see the benefits to it. I don't see the purpose to it, necessarily. I mean you're just creating a cat just because you're creating a cat that's a clone. Or your creating a new sheep….I think there's a lot of risks involved to the animals and whatever it is you're trying to clone. And I definitely don't think human cloning as a whole is a good thing or something we should be working towards.
Do you have any final things to say about stem cell research?
I think stem cell research is a new horizon that needs to be explored and that we need to continue working to see what the possibilities really are for what we can do with stem cells.
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