Stem cell researchers in Asia have responded to a key United Nations move away from a total ban on human cloning with relief.

The UN has been trying to hammer out a declaration on cloning for years. Although there is agreement on the need to ban reproductive cloning, deep divisions among member states over whether to ban therapeutic cloning have stymied efforts to reach consensus.

Last week the UN General Assembly considered a change of tack, switching to the idea of a non-binding declaration asking member nations to ban reproductive cloning and adopt legislation to respect "human dignity." The latest proposal, submitted by Italy, will be discussed further in February next year.

Paul Tam, a professor and researcher at Hong Kong's new Genome Research Center, said scientists in the territory would welcome UN guidelines, as long as they are balanced and not compulsory. He said Hong Kong is in...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!
Already a member?