The US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) authority to regulate the cloning of human embryos is murky and it's not certain it would stand up in a court of law, experts told members of the President's Council on Bioethics Friday at a meeting in Washington, DC to discuss a number of biotechnology topics, including the FDA's role in regulating the field.

The PCBE last year issued a deeply divided opinion on whether the use of cloning technology on human cells should be permitted at all, and earlier last week demonstrated that Council members remain at odds over the issue, even in theory.

On Friday, Council chairman Leon Kass acknowledged another problem: "We may be lacking a regulatory institution to pay attention to these matters."

The FDA has claimed authority to regulate the cloning of human embryos, Richard Merrill, professor at the University of Virginia School of Law and former chief...

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