- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
German Stem Cells Get Go-Ahead
4 May 2001 7:00 pm
BONN--Germany's main research funding agency issued new guidelines on 3 May that pave the way for researchers to import human embryonic stem cells from other countries. The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) also recommended that Parliament pass a law, if needed, that would allow German researchers to derive their own embryonic stem cell lines from surplus embryos from in vitro fertilization clinics. "The new guidelines are an important step ahead," says Oliver Bruestle, a stem cell researcher at Bonn University.
Currently, Germany's Embryo Protection Act allows researchers to harvest stem cells from aborted fetuses. But fetal stem cells may not have the same developmental potential as stem cells derived from blastocysts, embryos that are 4 to 7 days old. German law, however, prohibits the derivation of such stem cells from embryos fertilized in vitro.
The new guidelines, unveiled by DFG president Ernst- Ludwig Winnacker and endorsed unanimously by the agency's 39-member senate, will allow scientists to import embryonic stem cells that were derived legally in foreign labs. That's a big change from the DFG's initial guidelines for embryonic stem cell research, issued in March 1999, which counseled scientists to avoid research on human stem cells derived from very young embryos. An independent commission will examine the ethics of research on human embryonic stem cells.
If the import of embryonic stem cells does not satisfy scientific demand, the DFG recommends that Parliament amend the Embryo Protection Act to allow German researchers to derive their own embryonic stem cells for 5 years, hopefully enough time to learn how to manipulate adult stem cells. Such time-limited laws exist elsewhere in Europe, but it's uncertain how Parliament will respond to the recommendation.