Pope Calls On To Reject Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Human Cloning

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Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday called on South Korea to halt humanembryonic stem cell research and human cloning in light of a recentgovernment announcement allowing scientists to conduct research oncreating stem cells by cloning human embryos, the AP/Google.comreports (Winfield, AP/Google.com, 10/11). South Korea banned embryonicstem cell research last year after Hwang Woo Suk and colleagues from Seoul National University published fraudulent claims that they had created genetically matched embryonic stem cell lines.

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Hwang and his team in 2005 published two scientific papers in the journal Sciencethat said they had used the somatic cell nuclear transfer cloningtechnique to create 11 embryonic stem cell lines that are geneticmatches to patients ranging in age from two to 56. Both studies werefound to be fabrications, and Science formally retracted the papers in January 2006. The South Korean Ministry of Health and Welfarelast month said that scientists now will be permitted to conductresearch using eggs discarded after fertility treatments or otherlawful uses. In addition, scientists seeking to conduct stem cellresearch will be required to obtain a license from the government (Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report, 9/28).

Thepope noted South Korea's "notable success in scientific research anddevelopment" but said such research must be carried out with "firmethical standards" that respect human life (AP/Google.com, 10/11). "Thedestruction of human embryos, whether to acquire stem cells or for anyother purpose, contradicts the purported intent of researchers,legislators and public health officials to promote human welfare," thepope said. He added that some types of stem cell research -- includingresearch using amniotic fluid and adult stem cells -- "harmonize with the aforementioned intent (topromote human welfare) by respecting the life of the human being atevery stage of his or her existence" (Reuters, 10/11).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view theentire Kaiser DailyWomen's Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for emaildelivery at kaisernetwork.org/email. The Kaiser Daily Women's Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, afree service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

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