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    Panel okays ban on human cloning

    ©Associated Press
    April 15, 2003

    TALLAHASSEE -- All human cloning, whether for research or reproduction, would be banned in Florida under a measure approved Monday by a state Senate committee.

    Sen. Daniel Webster, who sponsored the measure (SB 1726), said there's no difference between cloning for medical research and cloning to produce a baby. "They both need to be banned," said Webster, R-Winter Garden.

    The bill was approved 7-3 by the Senate Health, Aging and Long-Term Care Committee despite arguments that it could prevent future medical breakthroughs.

    It still has a long way to go -- through five more committees -- before the full Senate can vote on it.

    The measure was opposed by medical schools at Florida universities, which say cloning could unlock secrets to curing Alzheimer's disease and overcoming paralysis. They also say it could help create tissues that wouldn't be rejected by a transplant recipient.

    But the committee defeated a proposal to change the bill to exempt cloning for medical research. The amendment would have allowed the practice, but made it a crime to implant cloned material into a woman's uterus or some substitute for a uterus with the intention of creating a new human being.

    In cloning, scientists replace the nucleus of an egg with DNA from another adult cell. The reconstructed egg is then stimulated to make it divide and grow into an embryo.

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