Saturday, July 24, 2004

And it begins
Where this leads our lives we will wait and see.

Japanese Council Approves Human Cloning

<> TOKYO - Japan's top science council voted Friday to adopt policy recommendations that would permit the limited cloning of human embryos for scientific research, an official said.

The recommendations would let researchers use and produce cloned human embryos but only for basic research, said Tomohiko Arai, an official at the Cabinet's Council for Science and Technology Policy.

The council, headed by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, will now ask Japan's ministries to come up with specific guidelines, said Arai, who declined to speculate how long that might take.

Many scientists back human embryo cloning to obtain stem cells that can be used to reproduce damaged tissues or organs. Stem cells are the building blocks from which all organs are formed.

Britain and South Korea allow therapeutic cloning, but the United States prohibits any kind of embryo cloning and has lobbied strongly against it.

Earlier this month, France's parliament gave final approval to a law that approves stem cell research on human embryos, but only for a limited test period.

Japan banned the cloning of humans in 2001.

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