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Australia reconsiders stem cell research

Published November 8, 2006


CANBERRA, Australia - Australia's Senate narrowly voted to end the country's four-year ban on cloning human embryos for stem cell research, ruling Tuesday that the potential for medical breakthroughs outweighed moral doubts.

The decision sets the stage for the ban to be lifted entirely. The measure now goes to Australia's House of Representatives, but lawmakers had expected the Senate to pose the biggest hurdle.

The Senate voted 34-32 to allow therapeutic cloning. It involves removing the nucleus of an unfertilized human egg and adding DNA to make it grow in a lab dish.

Scientists had been lobbying for lawmakers to relax rules on stem cell research and allow therapeutic cloning of embryos for medical research.

In the United States, President Bush pledged in 2001 to limit federally funded embryonic research to the stem cell lines that had been created by that time.

[Last modified November 8, 2006, 02:05:14]

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