Spain may soon recover another of its most wanted expatriate scientists. If negotiations are fruitful, developmental biologist Juan Carlos Izpisúa-Belmonte will return home in 2005 to lead a new Spanish National Center for Regenerative Medicine and Transplantation.

Izpisúa-Belmonte is currently heading a high-profile research team working on vertebrate development at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego. His lab recently identified genes that control how an embryo distinguishes left from right and how it determines where to place a limb.

Although the 42-year-old scientist was unsuccessfully lured 3 years ago to lead a research group in the Scientific Park of Barcelona, recently approved human-assisted reproduction legislation has created a suitable environment for his ambitions and future work in the country.

Izpisúa-Belmonte was involved in the organization of one of the first Californian centers devoted to stem cell research. Now, Spain's Health Minister Ana Pastor has offered him...

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