Feeds

UN to debate embryo cloning

Stem cell controversy goes global

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

A collection of 125 scientist and patient groups is asking the UN to reject calls for a worldwide ban on stem cell research from the Bush administration and 50 other countries.

The UN General Assembly is due to debate the issue from 21 October. All 191 member countries support a ban on cloning of human beings but cannot agree on whether cloning of human embryos for stem cell research should be allowed. Stem cells can create any other cell in the body. Supporters believe the research holds potential cures for many diseases like cancer and Alzheimer's as well as helping people with spinal injuries. Superman actor Christopher Reeve, who died on Sunday, was a keen lobbyist for the technology.

The argument has become a big issue in the US election: George Bush is opposed to any government funded research while his opponent John Kerry is calling for a lifting of restrictions which he described as "ideologically-driven".

The US proposal is that the UN bans all cloning which it describes as "unethical, morally reproachable and contrary to due respect for the human person". The proposal is backed by 57 other countries, which Reuters cattily describes as "predominantly Catholic, small island states or poverty-stricken developing nations".

An alternative measure, backed by Belgium and 21 other countries active in research, calls for a ban on cloning of human beings but allow individual governments to make their own decisions on stem cell research.

A spokeswoman for the BioIndustry Association, which represents UK bioscience companies, told El Reg: "We fully support a worldwide ban on human reproductive cloning but we don't think this should be extended to therapeutic cloning. Individual countries need to debate the issues and put proper regulation in place if they do decide to go ahead."

There is more detail in the Reuters story here ®

Related stories

Medical imaging research awarded £4.5m
Change that pacemaker. Now!
Stephen Hawking predicts bio-engineering catastrophe

Boost IT visibility and business value

More from The Register

next story
Just TWO climate committee MPs contradict IPCC: The two with SCIENCE degrees
'Greenhouse effect is real, but as for the rest of it ...'
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
Flamewars in SPAAACE: cooler fires hint at energy efficiency
Experiment aboard ISS shows we should all chill out for cleaner engines
Brit amateur payload set to complete full circle around PLANET EARTH
Ultralight solar radio tracker in glorious 25,000km almost-space odyssey
NASA Mars rover FINALLY equals 1973 Soviet benchmark
Yet to surpass ancient Greek one, however
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
The Essential Guide to IT Transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIO's automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise.
Maximize storage efficiency across the enterprise
The HP StoreOnce backup solution offers highly flexible, centrally managed, and highly efficient data protection for any enterprise.