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June 4, 2005

Cultural differences in stem cell research

Topics: Medicine

THE contrast could hardly be greater. Last week South Korea awarded an extra $1 million to "cloning king" Woo Suk Hwang at Seoul National University after his success deriving embryonic stem cells via therapeutic cloning. He has already received $26 million for his work in various forms of government funding.

In the US, federally funded researchers can work with only a handful of embryonic stem cell (ESC) lines derived before August 2001. However, there are no national restrictions on privately funded research.

Perhaps galvanised by Hwang's success, the US House of Representatives last week passed the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act by 238 votes to 194. The act would allow federally funded researchers to study ESCs derived from spare or rejected IVF embryos, provided the couples who donate them are not paid. Private research groups in the US have already created hundreds of cell lines from such embryos.

The bill still has to be passed by the Senate, and President Bush has threatened to veto it if it is passed. But Republican senator Arlen Specter, one of the act's sponsors, claims he can garner the two-thirds majority required to overturn any presidential veto.

Meanwhile, in Brazil, Brazilian Attorney General Claudio Fonteles is petitioning Brazil's Supreme Court to outlaw all embryonic stem cell research. Fonteles said in his petition the research is a violation of life and unconstitutional, O Globo reported Tuesday. President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva ratified a law in March that makes some stem cell research legal.

The world's largest Roman Catholic country, Brazil maintains strict laws concerning abortion and other fetus rights.

Related news:
The U.S. debate over stem-cell research is dividing Christians over the adoption of unwanted embryos from fertility clinics. While many evangelical ... > full story

Bush puts human face on stem cell debate (May 24, 2005)President Bush continued his fight against embryonic stem cell research Tuesday by appearing in the White House with children born from adopted ... > full story

Bush firm on stem cell funding rules(May 23, 2005) -- President Bush will not budge in opposing broader embryonic stem cell research using federal funds, the White House said Monday. Although Bush ... > full story

White House questions stem cell proposal (May 19, 2005) The White House indicated opposition Thursday to proposed legislation that would use federal funds to broaden stem cell research. Proponents of stem ... > full story

Posted by Hyscience at June 4, 2005 6:11 PM

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