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Royal Society Backs Call To To Ban Human Cloning

Royal Society Backs Call To UN To Ban Human Cloning

New Zealand's Royal Society backs call to UN to ban human reproductive cloning

New Zealand's science academy has backed a call to the United Nations to ban human reproductive cloning, which has hit headlines over the past year with purported attempts at cloning a human being. The move, endorsed by the Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) on behalf of more than 60 science academies from every continent in the world, follows the Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand's own recommendation to the New Zealand Government to legislate a ban on implantation of any embryo whose genetic material has been derived from a human somatic cell.

IAP members will present the statement, on behalf of 16,000 of the world's leading scientists, to the UN Committee on Cloning, scheduled to meet at UN headquarters in New York city between 29 September and 3 October. Two bills that address the issue of human cloning in New Zealand are currently with parliament's Select Committee on Health. "The international science community has reacted with great concern to attempts by unscrupulous scientists to clone human beings. New Zealand needs to move quickly to enact legislation to prevent such potentially unsafe and socially unacceptable practices," said Dr James Watson, president of the RoyalSociety of New Zealand.

At the same time, the Royal Society and the IAP are voicing strong support for research and therapeutic cloning. Research directed towards the study of stem cells derived from human embryos up to the fourteenth day of development has enormous potential value for the development of tissue replacement therapy and the treatment of human disease. Such work must be done by approved laboratories, subject to control by rigorous ethical and practical guidelines.

The United Nations has examined the possibility of a convention to ban human cloning. Consensus, however, has been hampered by disagreements concerning the scope of such a ban, especially whether it should also apply to research and therapeutic cloning.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. The Royal Society of New Zealand is an independent, national academy of sciences, a federation of some 60 scientific and technological societies, and individual members. It promotes a critical awareness of science and technology in schools, in industry and in society. It administers several funds for science and technology, publishes seven journals, offers science advice to government, and fosters international scientific contact and co-operation. See http://www.rsnz.org/news/stem/ for more on stem cells

2. IAP is a global network of the world's science academies that is hosted by the Third World Academy of Sciences with headquarters in Trieste, Italy.

3. Approximately 33 countries have formally banned human cloning including Australia, Austria, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Costa Rica, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Peru, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Kingdom (Source: Center for Genetics and Society)

3. The following academies have endorsed the IAP statement:

African Academy of Sciences
The Caribbean Academy of Sciences
Latin American Academy of Science
Third World Academy of Sciences
The Academy of Sciences of Albania
National Academy of Exact, Physical and Natural Sciences, Argentina
Australian Academy of Science
Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences of Belarus
National Academy of Sciences of Bolivia
Brazilian Academy of Sciences
Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Cameroon Academy of Sciences
Chinese Academy of Sciences
Academia Sinica, China Taiwan
Croatian Academy of Arts and Sciences
Cuban Academy of Sciences
Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Royal Danish Academy of Science and Letters
Academia de Ciencias de la República Dominicana
Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt
Estonian Academy of Sciences
The Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters
Académie des Sciences, France
Georgian Academy of Sciences
Academy of Athens, Greece
Hungarian Academy of Sciences
Indian National Science Academy
Indonesian Academy of Sciences
Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Science Council of Japan
Royal Scientific Society of Jordan
Kenya National Academy of Sciences
National Academy of Sciences of the Kyrgyz Republic
Latvian Academy of Sciences
Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
Macedonian Academy of Sciences and Arts
Academía Mexicana de Ciencias
Academy of Sciences of Moldova
Mongolian Academy of Sciences
Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco
The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
Nigerian Academy of Sciences
Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters
Pakistan Academy of Sciences
Palestine Academy for Science and Technology
Academia Nacional de Ciencias del Peru
National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines
Romanian Academy
Russian Academy of Sciences
Académie des Sciences et Techniques du Sénégal
Singapore National Academy of Sciences
Academy of Science of South Africa
National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka
Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Tajikistan
Thai Academy of Science and Technology
Turkish Academy of Sciences
The Uganda National Academy of Sciences
The Royal Society, UK
US National Academy of Sciences
Academia de Ciencias Fisicas, Matemáticas y Naturales de Venezuela


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