Stem-cell research through

Published: Thursday 31 August 2006

The eu has agreed in a compromise that its six-year us $65 billion budget for scientific research will fund embryonic human stem-cell research, so long as it does not involve destruction of embryos. The decision avoided an all-out ban on embryonic research, for which some countries had been pushing.

The agreement at a European Council meeting came just a week after the us President George W Bush vetoed a bill to extend federal funding of embryonic research (see Blocking science, Down To Earth, August 15, 2006). Not all of the 25 eu nations were in support of the proposal: a coalition of eight countries, led by Germany, had demanded more restrictive rules to prevent the eu from funding any embryonic stem cell research.But most of the countries, including Britain and France, supported the research and said they wanted the eu to fund all stages of research, including derivation of the cells. Later, the countries agreed to the compromise, according to which eu funds will be distributed to member nations, which can then decide whether to fund embryonic stem-cell research in their own countries. Experts feel the decision will help the eu nations to narrow their research gap with the us and spur economic growth.

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