Earlier this week US regulators approved 13 new lines of human stem cells for study and research, the first human stem cells approved for such use in over 10 years. The cells — the building blocks of the body — were not approved for study without controversy, and more lenient restrictions on federal stem cell research under the new Obama administration. US federal scientists also said another 96 lines of cells could be approved as early as July under the new laws. “I am happy to say that we now have human embryonic stem cell lines eligible for use by our research community under our new stem cell policy,” said the Director of the US National Institute of Health (click that link for more information). Stem cells come from embryos which have yet to be fertilized, which creates opposition among Evangelicals and Social Conservatives. Under the Bush Administration, federal funding for stem cell research was limited to prior destroyed embryos only — and limited even under those restrictions — which limited research and ultimately applications. Yes, we’re inching closer and closer to that old science fiction trope: growing human organs in vats and test tubes.