Feeds

EU will fund stem cell science

But there's a catch

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The EU yesterday decided not to follow the Bush administration's lead and declined to impose a blanket ban on federal funding of scientists doing research on embryonic stem cells.

The politicians disappointed scientists, however, by refusing to allow EU cash to be used in projects which involve harvesting stem cells from surplus IVF embryos. Religious and pro-life lobbyists argue this constitutes taking human life, though scientists argue the embryos are currently destroyed when not required by an infertile couple.

In a statement, UK scientists' body the Royal Society said: "It remains to be seen what impact these limitations will have on stem cell research given that they impose greater restrictions than currently exist for EU research funding. It also remains to be seen whether the European Parliament approves these restrictions in November."

A qualified majority voted for proposals which do not include harvesting cells to be included in the £37bn 2007 to 2013 research budget. Poland, Austria, Malta, Slovakia and Lithuania voted against funding the entire field. The German research minister who had earlier told the meeting: "We must conserve human life from its conception. We want no financial incentives to kill embryos," accepted the compromise to fund every stage of stem cell science bar the first.

Speaking to The Guardian, Stephen Hawking, who famously suffers from motor neurone disease, described the EU settlement as a "fudge".

National governments remain free to fund scientists as they wish. The UK research councils have already given funding to therapeutic cloning projects, similar to those faked in Korea by Hwang Woo-Suk.

The worry among academics is that the EU funding restrictions will make pan-European cooperation more difficult, and so slow progress towards cures for debilitating diseases such as Parkinson's. ®

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
Big dinosaur wowed females with its ENORMOUS HOOTER
That's right, Doris, I've got biggest snout in the prehistoric world
DOLPHINS SMELL MAGNETS – did we hear that right, boffins?
Xavier's School for Gifted Magnetotaceans
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.