Singapore Backs Embryo Cloning for Research

SINGAPORE, JULY 19, 2002 ( Singapore will allow the cloning of human embryos for certain research projects, so long as they are killed by the 15th day.

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Based on Britain’s rules, the new guidelines allow scientists to clone human embryos and extract stem cells from them, the Associated Press reported. Scientists will be allowed to keep the cloned embryos alive for up to 14 days to extract the stem cells.

Singapore hopes the guidelines will allow local firms to take a leading role in stem cell research that could lead to both profits and cures for disease.

Deputy Prime Minister Tony Tan said on Thursday the government has approved a set of recommendations made last month by a government-appointed Bioethics Advisory Committee.

In a speech a day earlier at a theological college, Tan said that local Catholic and Protestant groups had raised objections to stem cell research because the human embryo is a human being from conception.

Stem cells are unprogrammed master cells found in early-stage embryos that can turn into nearly every cell type in the body. Cell-based treatments, advocates claim, raise the hope of prevention or cure for scores of diseases.

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