In Slate: The Korean Stem Cell Advantage
"…the country is not preoccupied with moral questions about the beginning of life."
In an article in Slate this week on South Korea’s science-friendly culture — The Seoul of Clones: Solving a biotech mystery: Why South Korea leads the world in stem cell research — David Plotz describes some critical factors that contribute to the country’s news-making stem cell successes:
- the lack of significant religious objections,
- a family focus on bloodlines and genetics,
- an openness to medical improvement,
- plus a hardworking, collaborative, high-status scientific community skilled in IVF techniques.
Plotz compares the relative size and investment of U.S. and Korean stem cell initiatives and their results, and he highlights the influence of Korea’s stem cell leader, Hwang Woo-suk. Dr. Hwang adds another reason for Korean exceptionalism: their lifelong use of metal chopsticks helps Koreans with the micromanipulation of embryos and eggs.