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Never the European twain shall meet

Despite months of consultation the UK and the EU remain divided over therapeutic cloning.

Pat Hagan(phagan@btinternet.com)

LONDON — Cynics might say divisions between the UK and its European partners are not the exception, they're the norm. If it's not monetary union or nationalist pride that separates them, it's equally weighty issues such as BSE-infected beef, or how to make 'harmonised' sausages.

But now the rifts are confined not just to political and agricultural issues. It's science's turn, with the emergence of an apparent difference of opinion that raises questions about the future of funding for stem cell research.

In early 2001, following the UK government's decision to support therapeutic cloning, the EU set up a special temporary committee to examine all the issues thrown up by recent rapid advances in genetics. Called the Temporary Committee on Human Genetics and Other New Technologies in Modern Medicine, it was given exactly 12 months to reach conclusions on ethical, social, legal and economic developments in modern medicine and to...

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