July 23, 2004

The French Parliament has finally adopted a new bioethics law, five years later than originally planned. The legislation continues to ban reproductive cloning of an embryo - punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a €7.5 million (£5 million) fine - and therapeutic cloning (seven years and a €100,000 fine). But it permits research on frozen human embryos surplus to requirements in in vitro fertility treatments; and, for an experimental period of five years, strictly controlled stem-cell research. The 1994 legislation banned all embryo and stem-cell research and should have been revised after five years, but it was delayed by controversy and a general election.

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