Monday, April 14, 2008

Germany relaxs limits on stem cell research

Germany has decided to ease restrictions on stem cell research to ensure its scientists stay ahead of the pack.

The Bundestag lower house of parliament has approved new measures amid fears the country's top scientists would move abroad if rules remained too restrictive.

Under the bill, researchers will now be able to import stem cells created before the first of May 2007, rather than only use cells existing before 2002.

But the new limits were only passed after an emotionally charged debate.

Technology and Research Minister, Annette Schavan, stressed that scientists would be able to extract stem cells out of embryos that are not destined for a pregnancy.

She also said that Germany had to ensure its scientists could keep up globally.

Many of those who believe that life begins at conception argued that cells should be harvested from adults, not embryos.

German lawmakers also voted against two more radical proposals - one calling for a ban on all embryonic stem cell research, the other suggesting the cut-off date be scrapped entirely.

No comments: