Australia debates therapeutic cloning

Scientists urge the government to act on recommendations to allow somatic cell nuclear transfer

Stephen Pincock
May 2, 2006
The Australian government has come under pressure this week to respond to proposals that national laws should be amended to allow somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) for research purposes. The changes, recommended late last year by a government-commissioned independent review, would permit therapeutic cloning under strict controls. But scientists fear the government will ignore the advice and decide to keep the current ban.Those fears were intensified on Tuesday when the federal health minister, Tony Abbott, announced that the government would provide AUD$22 million ($16.7 million) to help establish a new national stem cell research center that would focus only on adult cells."To do good science one should not be picking adult stem cell research over embryonic stem cell research," Elizabeth Finkel, an Australian embryologist turned author, said in a statement. "It is disturbing to think taxpayers' money is being allocated based on the personal ideology of some of our...

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