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Embryo Cloning Moves Attacked

VATICAN CITY (CNS): Calling it immoral and unnecessary, the Vatican has condemned the production and use of human embryos for stem-cell research, despite its humanitarian aims.

In a seven-page statement released on August 24, the Vatican’s Pontifical Academy for Life said it had no objection to adult stem-cell research which does not pose ethical problems and which has seen recent published successes.

However, the use of human embryos was a different story.

The Vatican’s statement followed an August 23 decision by the US Government to release federal funds for embryonic stem-cell research projects.

In mid-August, England’s chief medical officer recommended allowing scientists to obtain stem cells by cloning human embryos, a process known as “therapeutic cloning”.

Stem cells are basic undifferentiated cells that replicate repeatedly, producing cells that can form various body tissues. Because of the cells’ ability to generate different body tissues, scientists believe they hold promise in treating various diseases, especially the degenerative diseases of age.

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