The United States government's four-year ban on federal financing for human fetal tissue transplantation research directly affects only those scientists who would transplant fetal tissue from induced abortions into human patients.
But both the ban and the controversy and confusion surrounding it also affect the working lives of other U.S. scientists with an interest in tissue repair and transplantation, researchers say.
Thousands of investigators worldwide-a large proportion of whom are from the U.S.-have a primary research interest in tissue transplantation and cellular replacement, according to observers of the field. A meeting on neural tissue transplantation this summer in Washington, D.C., drew 1,000 abstracts, meeting organizers say.
Over the past 20 years, research teams at medical schools, university brain science and neurobiology departments, and biomedical research laboratories worldwide have studied transplantation as a means of tissue repair.
By the mid-1980s, animal research in the U.S. and elsewhere showed that fetal tissue...