Cellular Biology: Stem Winder

Before James Thomson came along, embryonic stem cells were a researcher's dream. Now they're a political hot potato

When James Thomson learned last week that President Bush was about to make his big decision on stem cells, he coolly decided to do what he had planned to do all along. The once obscure University of Wisconsin scientist had triggered the great debate over embryonic stem cells. And so, on the morning after listening to the President's speech at a neighbor's house ("I don't have television," Thomson says. "I just watch DVDs on my computer"), he blithely went off hang-gliding in the hills near Madison. Good thing. As the lab Merlin who was first to create the magical cells in...

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