Differing Routes to Stem Cell Research: Germany and Italy

Renato G. Mazzolini, Hans-Jörg Rheinberger (edd)

Series: Contributi/Beiträge
Number: 26
Publisher: il Mulino - Duncker&Humblot
Place of publication: Bologna - Berlin
Year: 2012
Pages: 271


Price: € 22.00



Stem cells have been in the center of a heated biomedical and biopolitical debate in the first decade of the new millennium. Ethical concerns prevailed.
The present volume follows the controversial discussions on stem cells in Italy and Germany, respectively, over the past 15 years. It aims at an assessment of the situation, and its method is comparative.
The first part of the book takes a step back and sheds light on the early history of views on stem cells and on cellular reprogramming from the middle of the nineteenth to the end of the twentieth century.
Part two and three have a close look on the recent developments in Germany and in Italy from three different viewpoints: the state of the art in scientific research, the public debate on its perceived promises and dangers, and the political and legal regulations that followed.
It turns out that, despite their cultural and geographical vicinity, there are significant national differences in the discursive and juridical strategies followed in both European countries.


I. Introduction
Renato G. Mazzolini - The Weight of the Past
Hans-Jörg Rheinberger - A Revolution in Biology?

II. Historical Perspectives
Ariane Dröscher - Where Does Stem Cell Research Stem from? A Terminological Analysis of the First Ninety Years
Christina Brandt - Stem Cells, Reversibility and Reprogramming: Historical Perspectives

III. The German case
Alexandra Schwarzkopf - The Public Debate on Stem Cells Research in Germany. «Und bloß kein Dammbruch» / «For Heaven's Sake Avoid a Breach of the Dam»
Jochen Taupitz - Legal Developments in Stem Cell Research in Germany
Appendix: The German Law
Anna M. Wobus, Peter Löser - Stem Cell Research in Germany with Specific Regard to Human Embryonic Stem Cells

IV. The Italian case
Lorenzo Beltrame - Embedding Society in Cells: Science, Ethics and Politics in the Italian Public Debate on Stem Cell Research
Giuseppe Testa - Stem Cells and the Structuring of the Italian Biopolity
Luca Marini - Stem Cells: The Italian Way to Bioethics


  • Italy/Germany
  • Bioethics
  • Biomedical debate
  • Stem cell research


- "…an interesting contribution to the history of biomedical innovation in the second half of the twentieth century. / Differing Routes to Stem Cell Research provides important insights on intersections between biomedical research and politics. / … an excellent contribution..." - Ilana Lowy, Differing Routes to Stem Cell Research: Germany and Italy, in "Bulletin of the History of medicine", 87 (2013);

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