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Medical News and Perspectives
May 11, 2005

In Europe, as in US, Climate for Embryo Stem Cell Research Is One of Extremes

JAMA. 2005;293(18):2202-2203. doi:10.1001/jama.293.18.2202

Scientists in the United States who study human embryonic stem cells would find they have much in common with their counterparts in the European Union (EU), namely, highly polarized opinions on whether such work should be permitted and an equally divergent range of political support for funding it.

Federal funding in the United States is currently permitted only for research using a limited number of embryonic stem cell lines generated before 2001—cells that many scientists say are of poor quality—but generous funding is surfacing or being considered for stem cell research in some states. Similarly, the European Commission—the executive body responsible for EU-wide legislation—offers limited funding for stem cell research, but the EU’s 25 member nations are left to implement their own regulations. And because of these countries’ differing cultural and religious traditions, policies across Europe range from highly permissive to deeply restrictive, making a consensus unlikely for now.

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