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Draft guidelines ban creation of embryos for human cloning.

TOKYO, June 22 Kyodo

Draft guidelines released by the science ministry on Friday ban the creation of embryos that would lead to human cloning but allow non-cloning research on human and animal embryos.

The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry compiled the draft rules to follow up a new law that makes human cloning a crime carrying a punishment of up to 10 years in prison. The law was enacted last November and came into effect on June 6.

The ministry will begin receiving public opinions on the guidelines for one month from Saturday and submit them for deliberation at the governmental Council for Science and Technology Policy. The guidelines will be finalized by Dec. 5, ministry officials said.

The draft and the existing law ban the creation of embryos by implanting a somatic cell into an unfertilized egg deprived of a nucleus because of ''great risks'' that the measure could lead to the birth of a human clone.

However, the tentative guidelines allow research into the creation of three types of embryos using human and animal cells because they are ''medically valuable.''

The three types of embryos referred to are created by either implanting the nucleus of a human embryo into an unfertilized egg, which has been deprived of a nucleus; the transplant of the nucleus of a human somatic cell into an unfertilized animal egg without a nucleus; and the mixing of animal embryos with human somatic cells.

The draft rules would not allow research other than that aimed at developing regenerative medicine and the prevention of mitochondrial disorders.

The draft also bans the implanting of such embryos into the wombs of humans or animals, in line with the law.

The guidelines stipulate that fertilized human eggs and ordinary eggs should be donated for research and they oblige researchers to obtain written consent from donors.

Researchers would also be required to hear opinions of their institutions' ethics committees before filing applications to the ministry to obtain permission for research, according to the draft.

Under the law, even test-tube related research requires the permission of the state.

The guidelines will be posted at the ministry's Web site (http://www.mext.go.jp) on Saturday.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Jun 23, 2001
Words:366
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