April 21, 2024

Germany under pressure to legalise therapeutic cloning

In the wake of the British Government’s decision to issue the first licences for cloning embryos to the University of Newcastle, Germany’s National Ethics Council may recommend legalising cloned embryos as well. “The UK position to allow cloning human embryos for research underscores the different opinions within Europe,” says the Council’s chairman, Spiros Simitis. “It also forces all other members to review their positions.”

A leading newspaper, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung, has reported that a majority of the council’s 25 members now favour lifting a ban, provided that a clear regulatory system is in place. On the other hand, not all members believe that embryonic stem cell research will lead to “miracle cures” for diseases like diabetes and Parkinson’s. “There is still no evidence that such research will lead to breakthroughs in treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s,” Berlin researcher Heidemarie Neitzel, told The Scientist. “I think it is up to scientists to show that such research really will work before they ask for permission to go ahead with it.”