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DFG seeks to clarify stem cell rules

German Research Foundation report warns professors may have to adhere to rules, even abroad

Martina Habeck(m.habeck@gmx.net)

German stem cell researchers may find a more favorable research environment abroad, but they should be careful if they hold a professorship, according to a report due next month.

German stem cell researchers face a confusing legal situation. In an attempt to clarify matters, the German Research Foundation (DFG) commissioned an opinion from legal experts based at a law firm in Bonn and at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg. The DFG announced the results last week.

Stem cell regulations in Germany have long been criticized for being too stringent. The production of new human embryonic stem cell lines is illegal in Germany. The experimental use of human embryonic stem cells is restricted to cell lines generated before January 1, 2002, from surplus embryos resulting from infertility treatment. Research involving such existing stem cell lines requires the approval of a national review committee....

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