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4 thoughts on “Stem Cells in Developmental Biology: a debate at the BSDB”

  1. Thanks for posting this, it brings several issues into the spotlight: the “stem cell pitch”, the cohesiveness of DevBio as a field and exactly how we all see it and take that to the public.
    I hope that it stirs some local discussion in the labs, I don’t think that there is an obvious outcome of the debate but it will make people ponder how (and where) they see themselves in the big scheme of Biological Sciences.

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    1. Thank you, Claudio. I hope that the lack of visible response to this posting does not mean that the issue is ignored. As I tried to say (and you echo) it is an important one which people should consider carefully. For many people the connection is obvious and this is the reason why they see the debate as futile. However, there is content in this debate which goes beyond the names.

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  2. With all due respect Alfonso, I do believe that the change will indeed attract a different crowd to the meetings, force different content in sessions that will not be related to Dev Bio and, distract people from the main theme, that is the workings and evolution of embryos and systems. I cannot see how a name change will help, but I do predict that it will narrow the scope of future meetings, rather than being all inclusive. I do not agree that a “no” reflects fear, it reflects a staunch commitment to a broad theme and not allowing the influence of a fashionable topic. In fact, a “no” not only does not reflect fear, it shows resilience.

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    1. Thank you for the comment, Hernan. It is good to hear other voices. Yours is pretty much in line with the ‘noes’ at the BSDB and, of course, I disagree but will not repeat myself. It is a bit worrying that people cannot see the importance and the advantages of change. Stem cell biology, which some people claim is a new field, is a central part of Developmental Biology (not of Cell Biology, as some people like to think) and by not making this explicit there is the danger that it will indeed become a separate field and, for a number of coincidences and interests, would come to run the agenda of the field.

      In the end it is important that Developmental Biology has a say in the development of the Stem Cell field and, more important, that developmental biologists are aware of this connection and what it means intellectually and practically.

      Here is a question for those that would claim that Stem Cell Biology is a new field: how do you test that a stem cell is a stem cell? One shows that it can differentiate in the appropriate cell types. This smells to me to developmental biology, or not?

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