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There ought to be a law

Canadian researchers tire of waiting for stem cell legislation, plan to proceed with embryo research

Ed Ungar(edungar@tht.net)

Canada's primary funding agency for medical research is calling for the passage of parliamentary bill C-13, a law regulating in vitro fertilization (IVF) and embryonic stem cell research. If Parliament fails to act, Canadian researchers plan to go ahead with embryonic stem cell research by the late fall.

"Please pass this legislation," Alan Bernstein, president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), has exhorted repeatedly. But Parliament has recessed for the summer without final passage.

So, Bernstein has given the go-ahead to the formation of an embryonic stem cell research oversight committee to ensure that all projects conform to guidelines set forth in 2001 by an ad hoc CIHR committee on stem cell research. This month, CIHR began contacting prospective nominees for the oversight committee.

"I have no basis for withholding funding other than it's against the law," Bernstein told The Scientist, "but there is no law."...

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