Reviewed by Richard Lord
High School Biology Teacher
One of the leading “hot button” issues in today’s society is stem cell research. Beginning with a discussion of stem cell production and their functions in the body, the author describes how some diseases can be treated with stem cells. Both sides of the controversy of using human embryonic stem cells are considered, along with a discussion of the moral status of stem cells.
Thought–provoking quotes from major religions are included. Uses for stem cells for repairing diseased or damaged tissues, growing replacement cells and organs, and the development of new medicines and treatments are explored. The linkage between stem cells and cloning introduces the idea of therapeutic cloning, the insertion of a patient’s cell nucleus into an egg cell to create an embryo whose cells could then be used in the treatment of the patient. Stem cells carry much potential, but there are numerous problems, both scientific and ethical, that must be considered before this technology can reach that potential.
This book is part of the series, Sci–Hi: Science Issues, each of which considers a timely and potentially controversial topic. At the bottom of the front cover of each 48–page book is a question that grabs student interest in the book’s subject matter. The books consider the pros and cons of the subjects in an easy–to–read and visually appealing format. Appropriate examples and short case studies are included along with recent statistical information when needed. Words in bold print are defined in the glossary and underlined text is used occasionally for important information and defining terms. The books contain numerous sidebars, charts and tables that offer interesting facts, related information, biographical vignettes, and thought–provoking quotes. Carefully selected attention–getting illustrations and attractive, colorful layouts add to the appeal of the series. Additional useful features include conclusions and summaries of major points, career ideas, timelines, and discussion questions. Besides the glossary, there are also lists of print and web resources, topics and suggestions for further research, and an index.
These books would be appropriate in a classroom library, providing information for discussions, reports, debates, and special projects. They would be especially useful resources at the middle school level and as good starting points for high school level activities.
Review posted on 7/6/2012