Germany's embryonic stem cell law, which took effect just 2 years ago, needs to be changed if German researchers are to effectively cooperate with overseas scientists, according to Oliver Bruestle, one of Germany's most celebrated stem cell researchers.

But two government officials have suggested that that it will be at least several years before the Bundestag, Germany's lower house of Parliament, would even consider reopening discussion on the highly controversial issue.

The stem cell law, approved in compromise form by the Bundestag only after much parliamentary and public debate, states that only embryonic stem cells that date before January 1, 2002, can be imported into Germany.

Bruestle, head of the Institute for Reconstructive Neurobiology at the University of Bonn, was quoted in the German-language Financial Times Deutschland as saying that the import ban on newer embryonic cell lines must be lifted.

Bruestle told the daily newspaper that...

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