The German parliament voted today (April 11) to ease restrictions on stem cell research, according to linkurl:Reuters.; The linkurl:existing law in Germany; requires researchers to limit importation of human embryonic stem cell lines to those created abroad before 2002. Under the new bill, which was decided by a 346-228 vote in the Bundestag lower house of parliament, this date will be brought forward to May 1, 2007. The creation of embryonic stem cell lines in Germany, however, remains illegal. German lawmakers voted against two other parliamentary motions — one for a complete ban on linkurl:embryonic stem cell research,; the other to scrap the cut-off date entirely. The bill comes in response to scientists' claims that cells produced before 2002 were unusable for research. Proponents for the legal restraint say a firm date is necessary though to ensure that foreign labs do not produce cell lines for the German market.

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