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Scientists fight total UN cloning ban

31 August 2004
By BioNews
Appeared in BioNews 273

The UK's Royal Society and 67 other science academies around the world are urging the United Nations (UN) to ban human reproductive cloning, whilst leaving individual countries to regulate therapeutic cloning. However, the US is pushing for a global ban on all uses of the technology, which could be introduced at the UN's 59th General Session in October. Last year, delegates narrowly voted in favour of a proposal to delay any decision on a cloning treaty until 2005. But following pressure from supporters of the total cloning ban, the UN General Assembly decided to consider the issue again when it meets this autumn.

Professor Richard Gardner, chairman of the Royal Society's working group on stem cell research and cloning said that if the UN bans all forms of cloning, 'the UK, and other countries which currently permit carefully regulated therapeutic cloning, will not sign up to it'. Scientists opposed to a total cloning ban stress the need for a global ban on attempts at human reproductive cloning, such as the claims made this week by maverick fertility doctor Panos Zavos. 'To effectively stop cowboy cloners claiming that their work on human reproductive cloning is acceptable, because it is not outlawed throughout the world, a UN convention must be passed that all countries are willing to endorse', said Gardner.

Therapeutic cloning research aims to harness the natural ability of embryo stem cells (ES cell) to grow into any of the 200 different types of tissue found in the body. The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has recently granted the first licence permitting scientists to try and clone human embryos for research purposes. The researchers, based in Newcastle, hope to develop new cell-based therapies for diabetes. Other scientists are hoping to use ES cells in research on new treatments for diseases such as motor neuron and Parkinson's disease. Human reproductive cloning, the use of cloning technology to create a genetically identical person, is outlawed in the UK.

Gardner said: 'For countries that have not yet brought in a ban, a UN convention which draws a clear distinction between reproductive cloning and therapeutic cloning will provide invaluable guidance in passing effective legislation. It should be noted that the United States, unlike the UK, has still not outlawed reproductive cloning because of attempts to include therapeutic cloning in the ban'.

Britons attack US cloning ban bid
BBC News Online |  29 August 2004
Royal Society fights all-out cloning ban
The Scotsman |  30 August 2004
Royal Society urges United Nations to ban human reproductive cloning
Royal Society |  30 August 2004
UN urged to outlaw cloning of babies
The Daily Telegraph |  30 August 2004
19 November 2007 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The United Nation's Institute of Advanced Studies has issued a report containing a stark warning to the rest of the world: introduce global legislation to prohibit reproductive cloning or prepare to consider laws that protect cloned individuals from potential discrimination, prejudice and abuse. The report, entitled 'Is...
10 March 2005 - by BioNews 
The United Nations (UN) has adopted a non-binding declaration that prohibits 'all forms of human cloning inasmuch as they are incompatible with human dignity and the protection of human life'. The ban was passed by the general assembly on Tuesday, by 84 votes to 34 with 37 abstentions. Many countries...
21 February 2005 - by BioNews 
The United Nations (UN) has approved a declaration calling for a ban on human cloning for both reproductive and research purposes. The assembly's legal committee voted 71 to 35 in favour of the non-binding statement, backed by the Bush administration, with 43 abstentions. The declaration will now pass to the...
21 February 2005 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
In this week's BioNews, we report on the latest instalment in the ongoing saga of the United Nation (UN)'s deliberations on cloning. What started out, in 2001, as a proposed treaty to ban human reproductive cloning has ended up as a non-binding declaration calling on nations to ban all...
22 November 2004 - by BioNews 
The Legal Committee of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) last week abandoned proposals to adopt an international convention on human cloning. A proposal led by the US and Costa Rica, which would have meant an international treaty banning all forms of human cloning, including for medical research...
31 August 2004 - by Dr Jess Buxton 
This weeks BioNews reports on renewed attempts by supporters of therapeutic cloning to stop the research being banned worldwide. The United Nations (UN) will again be considering two competing resolutions on cloning when it meets this October: one banning all uses of the technology, and one which would ban human...
31 August 2004 - by BioNews 
Controversial US fertility doctor Panos Zavos has made more unsubstantiated claims of limited success in human cloning experiments. According to a report in the UK's Mail on Sunday, Zavos says he has created embryo clones of an 11 year-old girl and a 33 year-old man, who both died in road...
11 August 2004 - by BioNews 
The UK's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has given a Newcastle team permission to create human embryos that are clones of patients. The team, which applied for the licence in June, is licensed use the embryos to make embryonic stem cells for research purposes. They plan to investigate diabetes...
1 June 2004 - by BioNews 
A number of scientists and others will lobby members of the General Assembly of the United Nations (UN) at a scientific conference on Wednesday, in favour of human cloning for embryonic stem (ES) cell research. They hope to break a 'diplomatic deadlock' over whether an international treaty banning human reproductive...
10 December 2003 - by BioNews 
The United Nations will reconsider a treaty to ban human cloning in one year's time, rather than the two-year delay agreed upon by its legal committee recently. The General Assembly arrived at the consensus this week, following a last minute plan by supporters of a total ban on cloning technology...
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