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Human genetic research framework needs overhaul

A new House of Commons report is critical of human genetic research legislation and governance.

Pete Moore(pete.moore@dial.pipex.com)

LONDON — UK scientists claim to benefit from working under the world's most advanced legislative framework for genetic research relating to humans. But a report published today by the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee questions the state of health of the 1990 legislation. It criticizes the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Genetics Commission (HGC), the two organizations charged with enabling good governance in genetic research and application.

The report points out that science has moved on over the 12 years since the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act (1990) was passed, and that the need to overhaul the Act is highlighted by the on-going legal challenge of whether cloned embryos are covered by the UK legislation. "Should the ProLife Alliance's appeal to the House of Lords be successful, we urge the government to introduce new legislation to bring the creation of embryos by whatever...

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