Thirty years after the toppling of the Shah in Iran, the nation is undergoing another revolution of sorts. Iran is investing heavily in stem cell research, and despite researchers working with limited access to laboratory equipment and resources, the country may emerge as a scientific force to be reckoned with in the stem cell field.
Image: flickr/youngrobv
Even with their limited infrastructure, Iranian scientists have managed to isolate linkurl:six human; and linkurl:eight mouse; embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines over the past decade, and then successfully turn these cells into functional pancreatic, heart, splenic, and liver cells. "It's remarkable that they were able to do what they've done," linkurl:Konrad Hochedlinger; of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and Massachusetts General Hospital told __The Scientist__. "They are clearly catching up." Unlike many western countries, where religious wranglings have hindered the progress of ESC research, in Iran and other Islamic countries research involving...

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