The Spanish government made it easier for embryonic stem cell research to be undertaken in the country last week when it approved a decree that clarifies the country's regulations for the use of embryos in research.

Embryo research has been permitted in Spain since July 2003, when the previous government approved legislative reforms related to human assisted reproduction. The changes allowed research on embryos leftover from in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatments, but did not include specific mechanisms for permitting scientists to apply to undertake projects.

That problem was resolved on October 29 by a Royal Decree approved by the new Socialist government, which provides a framework for granting authorization for embryo use as well as setting out requirements for corresponding embryo studies.

"It is necessary and essential research. What is not ethical is to put obstacles to scientists who are working to cure diseases," said Deputy Prime Minister...

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