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Stem Cell Decision

October 11, 2010 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 88, Issue 41

ACS National Election Ballots

Ballots for the American Chemical Society’s fall 2010 national election were mailed to members on Sept. 24. If your ballot (mailed in a white envelope with a red banner marked “Vote!”) hasn’t arrived within two weeks, you may request that a duplicate ballot be sent to you by calling VR Election Services, Customer Service, at (800) 218-4026, Monday–Friday, 8:30 AM–5 PM central time, no later than Nov. 5, or by sending an e-mail to the help desk at You can cast your vote electronically or by traditional mail-in ballot. The voting deadline is close of business (5 PM CT) on Nov. 12. Election information on all candidates can be found at Those who have not voted will receive e-mail reminders from VR Election Services.

The News of The Week article “Judge Halts Stem Cell Research” is incomplete (C&EN, Aug. 30, page 4). The question 
implicit in the Stephen H. Aden quote—“The American people should not be forced to pay for experiments … that destroy human life”—needs to be addressed from the scientific perspectives of ACS members.

Is a human embryo a human life? Our present understanding of biochemistry affirms this. Within the cycle of sexual reproduction, the most significant chemical changes are associated with the assembly (or insertion) of a complete genotype within the oocyte. It is therefore reasonable to agree that the beginning of unique life is concomitant with this event. To define the beginning of human life later in the cycle is to favor morphological over chemical considerations.

It is difficult to lose funding, but we must always choose methods that do not treat any human as less than fully 

Kevin Siek
St. Joseph, Mich.


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