Iran excels in stem cell research: Report
American researchers believe Iran has become a leading country in embryonic stem cell research, media reports have suggested.
"Though the world's attention has focused on Iran's advancing nuclear program, Iranian scientists have moved to the forefront in embryonic stem cell research," The Washington Times reported.
Stem cells are pluripotent cells capable of developing into any cell, tissue and organ in the human body. These cells are used to treat a variety of serious and debilitating diseases.
Many countries including the United States have placed a ban on stem cell research, saying that the destruction of an embryo, a potential human, for any reason even scientific research is prohibited.
The Iranian government however permitted such research in 2002 and paved the way for ' launching Iran to the scientific vanguard of the Muslim world' as 'scientific achievement is important to Iranian national pride', The Washington Times said.
Ali Khadem-Hosseini, an Iranian immigrant to the US and one of the co-writers of the study conducted in Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, named Iran as one of the 10 top countries in producing, culturing and freezing human embryonic stem cells.
Khadem-Hosseini added that despite recent sanctions directed against the country, Iranian "research is improving", saying that the future of the technology in Iran "definitely looks bright."
Iran cloned Royana, the first cloned sheep in the Middle East, on Sept. 30, 2006, in the Iranian city of Isfahan.
Iranian scientists have crowned numerous other achievements in this field such as the isolation of human kidney stem cells and the differentiation of liver tissue in mice. - source press tv