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Of stem cells, what would Gandhi say? (2005)

In ALL ARTICLES, STEM CELLS FROM THE PAST, STEM CELLS IN THE NEWS on February 15, 2009 at 9:58 am

Of stem cells, what would Gandhi say?
By Pankaj Mishra
Published: MONDAY, AUGUST 22, 2005

LONDON: In 2001, President George W. Bush restricted U.S. federal financing for stem cell research. The decision, which was shaped at least partly by the Republican Party’s evangelical Christian base, and which disappointed many American scientists and businessmen, provoked joy in India.

The weekly newsmagazine India Today, read mostly by the country’s ambitious middle class, spoke of a “new pot of gold” for Indian science and businesses. “If Indians are smart,” the magazine said, American qualms about stem cell research “can open an opportunity to march ahead.”

Just four years later, this seems to have occurred. According to Ernst & Young’s Global Biotechnology Report in 2004, Indian biotechnology companies are expected to grow tenfold in the next five years, creating more than a million jobs. With more than 10,000 highly trained and cheaply available scientists, the country is one of the leading biotechnology powers along with Korea, Singapore, China, Japan, Sweden, Britain and Israel.

A top Indian corporation, the Reliance Group, owns Reliance Life Sciences, which is trying to devise new treatments for diabetes and Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases, and create human skin, blood and replacement organs genetically matched to their intended recipients.

Some scientists have even more ambitious ideas. Encouraged by the cloning of a sheep by British scientists in 1996, they plan to do the same with endangered species of Indian lions and cheetahs.
excerpted from http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/08/21/news/india.php?page=1

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