OTTAWA (Reuters Health) Aug 01 - The Canadian government is seeking a broad ban on human cloning similar to that approved by the US House of Representatives on Tuesday, but it would allow stem cell research from human embryos.
"We've put forward what we think is the appropriate balance, on the one hand allowing for regulated stem cell research but on the other hand not allowing for the cloning of embryos," Catherine Lappe, spokeswoman for Health Minister Allan Rock, said on Wednesday.
The US legislation, passed by 265 to 162 and backed by President Bush, would not permit human cloning for stem cell research, but does not deal with the question of whether such research should be allowed on existing embryos.
Rock's view is that stem cell research should be allowed up to 14 days after conception, on in vitro embryos created for reproduction but not actually implanted in a woman. But he would not allow the creation of embryos solely for research purposes.
Rock put forth his views in May in a draft legislation submitted to the Health Committee of the Canadian House of Commons. The plan is for the committee to hold hearings on it in the autumn and present a report in January, which Rock would use to craft final legislation.
The Canadian draft legislation would
also allow scientists to add nonhuman cells to existing human embryos or
add human cells to animal embryos, creating so-called "chimeras." Government
officials said any altered human embryos would also have to be destroyed
14 days after their creation.
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