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It is important to understand what stem cells are used for and why scientists want to research them as much as they do. Stem cells are unique cells that have the capacity to reproduce themselves for indefinite periods in culture and give rise to specialized cells and tissues of the body. These cells are useful because they have the ability to develop into most of the tissues in the human body. They could eventually be used in curing people with life threatening diseases. These discoveries may provide cures for diseases which have yet to be uncovered by current medical research. Although stem cell research raises religious, moral and ethical concerns, it has far reaching potential for beneficial applications. Governments are trying to address and balance these benefits with the concerns of their respective societies through legislation and regulations. The current patent environment in Korea and the United States is fairly favourable to granting patent rights in most areas of stem cell research while Europe has much more restrictive provisions. In contrast, it is interesting to note that while the United States has taken the most expansive position with regard to the granting of patents arising from stem cell research, it has taken one of the more restrictive positions with regard to funding of this research. The opposite is true in certain European countries such as the United Kingdom.