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Germany reacts to UK clone nod

National Ethics Council not ready to approve therapeutic cloning, says chair

Jane Burgermeister(janeburgermeister@yahoo.co.uk)

The chairman of Germany's National Ethics Council is denying reports that the council is about to give the green light to therapeutic cloning using human embryos in that country. But chairman Spiros Simitis said that Parliament would have to reassess its ban following the UK's decision to allow therapeutic cloning.

Under Germany's Embryo Protection Law, the production of human embryonic stem cells is forbidden, but some research on imported cell cultures already developed from stem cells in other countries is permitted.

"The German Parliament will need to deal with this question of therapeutic cloning again very soon," Simitis told The Scientist. "The UK decision to allow cloning human embryos for research underscores the different opinions within Europe. It also forces all other members to review their positions."

"The ethics council is in the middle of the debate, and we hope to have an opinion by September, but...

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