Brazil court to rule on stem cells

Brazil's Supreme Court will rule today (March 5) on the linkurl:legal status;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15348/ of scientists using human embryos, following an appeal that embryonic stem cell research is "unconstitutional."

By | March 5, 2008

Brazil's Supreme Court will rule today (March 5) on the linkurl:legal status;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/15348/ of scientists using human embryos, following an appeal that embryonic stem cell research is "unconstitutional." In March 2005, the Brazilian parliament passed legislation allowing scientists to work with stem cells derived from human embryos. That law approved research with embryos produced by in vitro fertilization and frozen for at least three years. But only months later, in May 2005, then-Attorney General Cláudio Fonteles petitioned the Supreme Court to repeal the law, arguing that it was unconstitutional because it violates the right to life. Today's decision comes amid pleas from both sides of the debate. linkurl:On Friday,;http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ilSQD5t_pO3YCyS_IdsF2jLzEX2QD8V4B2001 Brazilian church officials urged the court to ban the use of human embryos. Meanwhile, some scientists have spoken out in favor of the research. "Brazil has the potential to be a significant leader in this field," Bernard Siegel, the executive director of the Florida-based Genetic Policy Institute, told the linkurl:Associated Press.;http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5ilSQD5t_pO3YCyS_IdsF2jLzEX2QD8V6PN9O0 "And if the Supreme Court decides to allow this kind of research, then Brazil will become the Latin American leader in this field." Brazilian public opinion is generally supportive of the research. A survey conducted in January by the Brazilian Institute of Public Opinion and Statistics, or IBOPE, found that 95% of those interviewed support embryonic stem cell research.

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