Op-Ed

The debate over California_s Proposition 71 is intensifying as election day draws closer, and the parties for and against the ballot initiative are securing last minute endorsements and airing commercials they hope will sway voters_ decisions when they go to the polls Tuesday.

Proposition 71, which would fund and support stem cell research in California, has been hailed by supporters as a way to possibly finding cures for many debilitating diseases, and assailed by opponents for its dependency on public financing and the way the research would be overseen.

According the National Institutes of Health, stem cells are _unspecialized,_ meaning they do not perform specific functions within the body such as the beating cells of the heart muscle, or the insulin producing cells of the pancreas.

Under certain experimental conditions, stem cells can be induced to become cells that do in fact perform special functions, and can also renew themselves over long periods of time. Because of this, scientists hope that these stem cells may be used in the future to treat diseases such as Parkinson_s, Alzheimer_s, heart disease, and...