Germany's Research and Education Ministry is preparing a national stem cell strategy paper that will include legal guidelines for German scientists wishing to collaborate with foreign colleagues but fearful of breaking German criminal laws, a ministry spokesman has confirmed.

Embryonic stem cell research is strictly regulated in Germany. Two years ago, a study commissioned by German Research Foundation (DFG) warned German scientists that collaborating with colleagues abroad who are producing embryonic stem cells would be illegal. The study said that scientists simply giving informal advice via E-mail or telephone to such colleagues could face criminal prosecution.

This week, ministry spokesman Florian Frank confirmed media reports about the strategy and told The Scientist that research minister Edelgard Bulmahn did not want German stem cell scientists to be isolated from colleagues in nations with less restrictive laws than Germany.

"We really want that German scientists can participate in stem cell programs in...

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