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German candidates debate science

Education and research minister reverses herself on stem cell law and criticizes potential successor

Ned Stafford(scientistnews@yahoo.com)

In an indication that scientific research has become a major issue in Germany's national elections next month, Federal Education and Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn has reversed previous statements and signaled her support for amending Germany's strict human embryonic stem cell law. She and others in her left-of-center SPD party, headed by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, also sharply attacked the qualifications of Annette Schavan, who main opposition chancellor candidate Angela Merkel has pegged to become education/science minister if she defeats Schroeder in the September 18 election.

Until last week, Bulmahn's stand on the current law was not much different than that of most of Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU coalition: that the law is sufficient for the basic research being conducted in Germany. But last week Bulmahn strayed from that position. In an interview in the daily Die Welt, Bulmahn said it now appears that medical treatments derived from human stem cell...

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