Dr. Maureen Condic explains why reprogrammed stem cells are not embryos – an “organism” is organized.
Totipotent zygotes are distinct from pluripotent or even plenipotent stem cells because they undergo development. The ability to both produce all cell types and to organize them into a coherent body plan is the defining feature of a totipotent human organism.
Update: The original article by Dr. Condic is available by pdf at http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/pdf/10.1089/scd.2013.0364
Hat Tip to the bioethics newsletter, BioEdge, and Michael Cook http://www.bioedge.org/index.php/bioethics/bioethics_article/10888