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Minnesota was the site of the first successful bone marrow transplant in 1968. Five years after that pioneer moment in stem cell research history, Minnesota passed the 1973 Human Conceptus statute (MN Statute 145.422), which prohibited “the use of a living human conceptus for any type of scientific, laboratory research or other experimentation” and forced two generations of stem cell researchers to acquire embryonic material from out of state fertility clinics. The tension between scientific innovation and social conservatism has persisted into the 21st century, when legislative attempts to advance or restrict stem cell research have been common.

At the same time, researchers at the University of Minnesota’s Stem Cell Institute, the first in the United States, spent more than 15 years working to discover safe ...

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