Scientists in France are optimistic about the future of stem cell research now that the government has removed a final legal hurdle to studies on human embryonic cells.

A bioethics law approved by the French National Assembly in August granted permission to scientists to carry out research on human embryonic stem cells for 5 years as long as research is directed towards the development of treatments for serious disease.

Last Tuesday (October 5), the French Minister for Health Philippe Douste-Blazy authorized the import of human embryonic cell stems. His decision paves the way for research on human embryos until they are 6 to 8 days old to take place in the country for the first time.

Douste-Blazy said that the "transitional measure had been put into place so that researchers can continue to do their work" until the new bioethics law comes into effect, probably in spring. "From now until...

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