Germany should maintain its ban on reproductive cloning and the penalties for violating the law should be more clearly defined in the future, the country's National Ethics Council said on Monday.

The Council, appointed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in 2001, also recommended that the country's prohibition of therapeutic cloning be maintained for the moment, but this was more of a political than an ethical recommendation.

Rumors about the Council's decision last month suggested it would give the green light to therapeutic cloning, however, after 15 months of consultation its members were unable to come to a unanimous decision on the subject.

Instead the 25 prominent jurists, scientists, theologians, ethicists, and political scientists mapped out three different positions along with their ethical arguments and implications.

One group wanted to aim for a worldwide ban on all forms of cloning, stating that an embryo, even if it does not have the potential...

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