Feeds

Annan lines up against US-inspired human cloning ban

Balance at UN tilts in favour of therapeutic?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan endorsed therapeutic cloning on Thursday, adding his weight to the UN member countries opposing the US-led campaign to ban all human cloning.

A treaty which would ban the cloning of human being has been in the works since 2001, but arguments over extending this to include therapeutic cloning have stalled it. Therapeutic cloning involves harvesting stem cells (cells that have yet to differentiate into a specific type of cell) from human embryos, for use in research into diseases and injuries, and is supported numerous countries, including the UK.

Therapeutic cloning is legal in the United Kingdom, but "very carefully regulated," as a spokeswoman for the Bioindustry Association (BIA) put it. Kofi Annan's endorsement was described as "very welcome," but she said it was not possible to predict the outcome of the ongoing debate. She added that the UK is against the banning of therapeutic cloning.

The UN currently faces a proposal sponsored by the US, Costa Rica and over 50 other nations banning all human cloning, and this is opposed by proposal endorsing therapeutic cloning from a group consisting of Belgium and 21 other nations.

The issue of a total ban on cloning has become heated in the run-up to the US presidential elections, particularly since the death of Christopher Reeve, who played Superman and advocated therapeutic cloning and stem cell research. His widow, Dana Reeve, on Thursday endorsed John Kerry's campaign for the presidency.

US President George Bush opposes government funding for any research involving the future destruction of human embryos, while John Kerry, the Democratic Party candidate, advocates the pursuit of embryonic stem cell studies.

Bush has restricted the allocation of federal funds to embryonic stem cell batches that existed as of August 2001, but these batches are not appropriate for human therapeutic cloning for several reasons. For the most part they are quite old and so their quality has declined. Some also contain mouse cells as well as human cells.

A date for a vote on the proposed ban has yet to be fixed. ®

Related stories

UN to debate embryo cloning
US science alliance eyes artificial retina
NASA hands out $13.5m for radiation studies
£147.5m boost for British particle accelerators

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
GRAV WAVE DRAMA: 'Big Bang echo' may have been grit on the scanner – boffins
Exit Planet Dust on faster-than-light expansion of universe
Mine Bitcoins with PENCIL and PAPER
Forget Sudoku, crunch SHA-256 algos
SpaceX Dragon cargo truck flies 3D printer to ISS: Clawdown in 3, 2...
Craft berths at space station with supplies, experiments, toys
NASA rover Curiosity drills HOLE in MARS 'GOLF COURSE'
Joins 'traffic light' and perfect stony sphere on the Red Planet
'This BITE MARK is a SMOKING GUN': Boffins probe ancient assault
Tooth embedded in thigh bone may tell who pulled the trigger
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
Japanese volcano eruption reportedly leaves 31 people presumed dead
Hopes fade of finding survivors on Mount Ontake
That glass of water you just drank? It was OLDER than the SUN
One MEELLION years older. Some of it anyway
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.