Although I doubt this will bring an end to the debate on federal funding for stem cell research, scientists have now proven that it's possible to derive stem cells from an embryo without killing the embryo.

New Scientist reports on the promising development:

Last year, Bob Lanza and his team from Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts, demonstrated that stem cells could be harvested from mouse embryos without killing them. Now they have done the same in human embryos left over from IVF treatment.

The researchers employed a technique used in pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) in which a single cell or "blastomere" is removed from the ball of eight to 10 cells that comprise the early embryo. The researchers were able to grow a stem cell line from just one or two cells from an early embryo - leaving that embryo viable. The cells are "pluripotent", meaning they can grow into the three major tissue types.