The United Nations (UN) is due to revisit the vexed issue of an international convention against reproductive cloning next week, and observers are expecting more of the wrangling that has bedeviled the subject in the past.

Last Thursday (October 7), the UN confirmed that the agenda item "international convention against the reproductive cloning of human beings" will be taken up again in the Sixth Committee of the General Assembly, on October 21 and 22.

The UN has been trying to reach agreement on a convention for more than 2 years. In 2002, talks within a working group on the issue stalled because of fundamental disagreements over whether the proposed treaty should ban all cloning or only reproductive cloning.

In November last year, following more squabbling, the UN's legal committee (the Sixth Committee) voted to delay discussions for 2 more years. Nations had divided their support between two proposals: one put...

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