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Asia taking the stem cell lead

Researchers in China, South Korea, and Singapore are testing the lead taken by Western countries in the field of stem cell research, according to members of a UK government mission.

Stephen Pincock

Researchers in China, South Korea, and Singapore are testing the lead taken by Western countries in the field of stem cell research, according to members of a UK government mission.

In September 2004, the UK Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) sent a group of leading figures from the field of stem cell science on a 2-week trip to the three Asian countries to assess the quality of science being done and to evaluate possible commercial opportunities. "The challenge to Western pre-eminence in stem cell research from China, Singapore, and South Korea is real," the group's report concludes.

"It was high-quality science," says Cathy Prescott, from Avlar Bioventures. "There were clearly centers of excellence, particularly for somatic cell nuclear replacement."

The United Kingdom considers itself a leader in the stem cell research field, but some of the country's scientists fear that lead could be squandered because of inadequate funding. A...

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