Dispute over German law

As politicians cheer the 'success' of a controversial stem cell import law, scientists fume

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)
Aug 2, 2004

German Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn and Health Minister Ulla Schmidt issued a joint statement last week patting themselves on the back for what they described as the success of a new law that allows German researchers to import human embryonic stem cells. But not everyone in Germany's stem cell research community was patting along.

Stem cell researcher Jürgen Hescheler, head of the Institute of Neurophysiology at the University of Cologne, told The Scientist: "I would tell the ministers that they should go to the labs and speak with the basic scientists. They never spoke with us. I guess they just assumed the law was good."

Is he satisfied with the new law? "Definitely not," Hescheler said.

The two ministers issued their statement in conjunction with release of an 18-page "progress report" detailing the first 18 months of the law, which took effect July 1, 2002. After describing the...

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