Two leading members of France's largest biotech trade organization, France Biotech, say the country's recent decision to allow human embryonic stem cell research moves the industry forward, but not far or fast enough to catch up with the United States and Great Britain.

Alain Guedon, vice president of Paris-based France Biotech, says moral and ethical concerns will continue to hamper research despite the new law. His organization represents about 150 biotech companies. "France is pretending to be in the peloton de tete," says Guedon, alluding to the lead cyclists in the world-famous Tour de France bicycle race. "But in fact we still lag behind the speediest ones like the US and the UK."

France continues to bar the transfer of stem cell nuclei into human eggs, which Guedon says could lead to "the most interesting" medical breakthroughs, but also raises the ethical controversy that goes along with cloning. "You...

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