The President's Council on Bioethics, which has produced only one report since it was established by President Bush in 2001, has a somewhat more ambitious agenda going forward, including tackling the ethics of biologically enhancing humans. The council plans to produce a document analyzing "enhancements" — non-therapeutic uses of biotechnology to improve body function and/or retard the human aging process this year, executive director Dean Clancy said Thursday.

The group is also considering a report to the President on advances in adult and embryonic stem cell research, Clancy told The Scientist, and may produce a document on reproductive technologies, as well, focusing on "the design and manufacture of children." No date has been set for any of the projects.

The ethics of using biotech enhancements to slow the aging process were a focus of the Council's March 6 meeting. "Is it reasonable to think that the biological processes...

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