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Swiss to vote on stem cells

A national referendum to decide whether an embryonic stem cell law will take effect

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)

Voters in Switzerland will have the final say next month in a national referendum on whether a law already approved by Parliament allowing extraction of stem cells from surplus human embryos for research will be allowed to take effect.

The law was approved last December by the Swiss Parliament, despite opposition from the Green Party and anti-abortion groups. However, after passage of the law, opposition groups were able to collect enough signatures to force a nationwide referendum on the issue.

The Swiss government has launched a campaign advocating support for the new law, which also is backed by Switzerland's science and research organizations.

Margrit Leuthold, secretary general of the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, told The Scientist: "I think for the moment, and in view of the political situation, we are quite happy with this law."

The original bill proposed in Parliament would have allowed not only production...

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