UK grants first licence for human embryo cloning

Britain on Wednesday granted its first license allowing scientists to clone human embryos, more than three years after becoming the first nation to authorise the technique to produce stem cells for medical research.

A team at Newcastle University had applied to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a license to create embryos from which stem cells will be harvested for medical research.

The researchers hope eventually to create insulin-producing cells that can be transplanted into diabetic patients.

In January 2001, Britain became the first nation to authorise the cloning of human embryos when Parliament voted to allow regulators to license the method to scientists investigating the medical promise of stem cells from early-stage embryos.

The South Korean Parliament followed last December, and by February scientists there had already announced becoming the first in the world successfully to clone a human embryo for stem-cell research.—Sapa-AP

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