The French Parliament last Friday (July 9) adopted a new bioethics law that allows embryonic stem cell research, and for at least one research group, the decision has made the difference between conducting their work in France or the United States.

The new law states that human reproductive cloning is a "crime against the human species," and although therapeutic cloning will remain illegal in France, research on embryonic stem cells will be allowed within strict parameters.

"For the first time, thanks to the law on bioethics, reproductive cloning is very clearly made a crime against the human species, and therapeutic cloning an offense," said Philippe Douste-Blazy, minister of health. "Protecting human embryos is an explicit goal of the civil code," he added. Reproductive cloning experiments will be punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

However, in recognition of their medical potential, Douste-Blazy and François d'Aubert, minister of...

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