Legal loophole

Published: Saturday 15 December 2001

a loophole in the law could make human cloning legal for scientists in Britain. This loophole, exposed in a uk court by anti-cloning campaigners, has triggered a lot of furore. Following the court's ruling in favour of the activists, the British government has said it would consider emergency legislation to correct the flaw.

The anti-cloning campaigners who dragged the government to the high court over the issue, believe that the ruling exposed the government's faulty policy on cloning. On the other hand, scientists apprehend that the court's judgement would delay technological and medical developments based on cloning.

The ProLife Alliance, one of the groups fighting human cloning, claimed organisms produced by cell nuclear replacement (cnr) were not technically embryos as they were not created by the coming together of a sperm and an egg Thus they were not covered by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, 1990, the law which had been thought to regulate cloning. Although, the Department of Health disagreed, in its ruling the court agreed that an organism created by cnr was not an embryo and so not covered by the 1990 act. Bruno Quintavalle, director of the ProLife Alliance, said, "There are no safeguards to stop cloning. There is nothing any public authority can do."

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