A few hintsare beginning to emerge about how a Barack Obama administration will approach some of the touchy bioethical issues of our times, particularly stem cell research, thanks to recent appointments to his transition team.
University of Wisconsin bioethicist Alta Charoand University of Pennsylvania bioethicist Jonathan Moreno have both been asked to advise the incoming US president as he prepares to take office in January.
Both are prominent proponents of stem cell research, and have called for an end to George Bush's ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research. While stem cell researchers have applauded the appointments, opponents see it as a warning of fights to come.
Richard Doerflinger, director of the Secretariat for Pro-Life Activities for Catholic bishops in the US, says the church will resist any change in policy.
"The question is, does the Bush policy get replaced with the law of the jungle? We are very concerned about it as a moral issue."
Supporters, however, including Robert Klein of the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, are counting the daysuntil Obama takes office.
"Today there's trial ready for humans sitting at the FDA that the Bush administration blocked. 45 days from now, when there's a change in administration. I expect that trial to move forward."