The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Speaker discusses stem cells on NE

Sam Rhine, shown here during a 2010 visit, discusses advances in genetic research and cloning Feb. 8 on NE Campus.
The Collegian file photo
Sam Rhine, shown here during a 2010 visit, discusses advances in genetic research and cloning Feb. 8 on NE Campus. The Collegian file photo

By Sam Brouse/reporter

A geneticist spoke about the greatest advancements in the history of scientific development Feb. 8 on NE Campus.

Sam Rhine, who has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in genetics from the University of Indiana, discussed stem cell research and cloning and the myths and ethical issues that go along with them.

Rhine put all the negative myths about stem cell research to rest. The biggest myth is that stem cells can only be extracted from an embryo, thus destroying the embryo, he said.

“There are four types of stem cells,” he said. “Only one of them is embryonic.”

Different modern improvements are now used in stem cell research, and this area of science is more advanced than people think, Rhine said.

“[Scientists can now] take skin from the wrist of a human and grow an organ or any other cell in a petri dish,” he said.

Those organs can also be grown in another host animal, Rhine said.

Rhine said his son has Type I diabetes. Doctors are doing a procedure with him in which they are growing a human pancreas in a pig so they can turn around and put that pancreas in his son in the future.

This procedure can eliminate the burden of Type I diabetes from his son’s life, he said.

Turning his focus on cloning, Rhine talked about Dolly, the first cloned sheep in 2000 and other cloned animals since Dolly.

Although the thought of all of those animals being cloned does spark some interest among scientists and others, human cloning is not in the near future because of the risks involved, Rhine said. The success rate of animal cloning is only 22 percent for sheep and 11 percent for horses, so major experimental laboratories do not want to risk a human life, he said.

But animal cloning does have some current benefits.

“Technology and knowledge are now available to clone meat,” he said.

Sam Rhine, shown here during a 2010 visit, discusses advances in genetic research and cloning Feb. 8 on NE Campus.
The Collegian file photo

By doing so, enough meat could be cloned to feed the entire world, Rhine said.

Most ethical issues regarding stem cell research arise when politicians and others in the public eye who do not know enough about the topic preach about the topic, he said.

Rhine met with more than 300 area high school students during the day and spoke to TCC students and the community that night. Through his presentations, Rhine said he wanted everybody to have scientific literacy.

Scientific literacy is “getting the basic information about this particular area of science squared away so you can defend what you think,” he said.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian