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Monday, October 30, 2006

Professors building digital embryo-research library, database to include info on cloning, stem-cell research

Professor Jane Maienschein has more than 4,000 books in her personal library. Her colleague Manfred Laubichler has more than 8,000 in his.

Now, these two biology and society professors, along with an international team, are building a digital library for everyone's use.

The online database, called the Embryo Project, will make information on controversial issues like stem cell research, cloning and abortion accessible to the public.

Maienschein is the director of ASU's Center for Biology and Society.

Through the Embryo Project, Maienschein, Laubichler and their team hope to enable scholars and voters alike to access information pertaining to embryo research.

Embryology is an important topic in today's society because of its public presence in politics and the ongoing discoveries made by scientists, Maienschein said.

At the same time, she said, the lawyers, judges, scientists and voters who are expected to make decisions about topics like stem cell research and cloning have very little accurate information at their disposal.

"It's really pathetic that the public is asked to vote on things like stem cell initiatives with so little understanding of what they're talking about," Maienschein said.

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