University researchers should not clone human beings due to public concerns over ethics issues and because the safety of such experiments is not guaranteed, an advisory panel to the education minister said Tuesday.
In a report that will serve as a rough draft for the government’s first guideline on cloning researches at schools and national research institutes, the Science Council recommends prohibiting human cloning research, including the transplant of human fertilized eggs and embryos for cloning purposes.
The panel’s decision follows a midterm report compiled in June by a subcommittee of the Science and Technology Council, an advisory body to the prime minister, which called for regulations — possibly legislative — on the cloning of humans. Rather than seeking legal restrictions, Tuesday’s report calls for a set of guidelines for such research.
“Researchers (in schools) felt that they had to display to the public their sense of responsibility in dealing (with cloning studies),” said Mitsuru Tanaka of the Education Ministry’s Science and International Affairs Bureau.
He added that some researchers nevertheless showed concerns that legal regulations would restrict progress in research. Tuesday’s report, which does not set limits on experiments and research on animals, is expected to be finalized as a formal guideline in August.
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