In a move that could influence future cloning laws in the US, the nation's largest lawyers' group will decide this week whether it should sanction therapeutic cloning.

The 408,000-member American Bar Association (ABA), which is known for advocating scientific and academic freedom, currently has no stance on cloning. The ABA's policy would not only condone therapeutic cloning, but would also oppose any government legislation to criminalize scientists involved in cloning research.

The House of Delegates, the ABA's policy-making body, will vote this week on the proposed policy, which endorses therapeutic but not reproductive cloning, said policy author Robyn Shapiro, director of the Center for the Study of Bioethics at the Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, US. "We must be careful to distinguish between cloning for therapeutic purposes, which should be pursued, and cloning for reproductive purposes, which the ABA opposes," Shapiro said.

Although the US House of Representatives...

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