Three of four German scientists think that researchers will have unlocked most of the secrets of how embryonic and adult stem cells function in the next 10 to 20 years, allowing them to concentrate on developing medical and therapeutic applications, a survey released this week showed.

Half of those surveyed for the Delphi Study also warned that Germany would lose at least half of its stem cell scientists to other countries in the next 5 years because of “restrictive research conditions.” The other half disagreed.

The Delphi Study, conducted by the Max Delbrueck Center for Molecular Medicine and Research Center Juelich, is part of a 3-year project into ethical questions in biomedicine, financed with a grant of around €1 million from the German Ministry of Education and Research. Another part of the project was a so-called citizens' conference to learn how “normal people” feel about the highly controversial stem...

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