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US Senate passes another stem cell bill

In a repeat of last summer, the US Senate voted yesterday to allow increased federal funding for embryonic stem cell (ESC) research. The bill, which had been passed by the House of Representatives in January, was passed by a vote of 63 to 37; four votes short of the amount needed to override the promised veto from President Bush, who opposes ESC research on moral grounds. 苏州美睫美甲

The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act, S.5, would allow researchers to create new human stem cell lines from embryos that were created for in vitro fertilization (IVF) but were not used, providing there was written consent from the donors. Currently, hundreds of thousands of such embryos are destroyed each year, as they are surplus to requirements.

Currently, federal regulations prohibit the use of more than a handful of approved cell lines, most of which date back to the earliest days of ESC science. These are widely considered to be useless to scientists for all but the most basic experiments due to contamination by animal feeder cells.

Scientists have applauded the passing of the bill by the Senate. The Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB), one of the leading organizations of scientific societies, has urged President Bush not to use the second veto of his presidency to shoot down this bill, although he has made it clear that is the plan. President Bush has only vetoed one other piece of legislation in his two terms, a prior ESC bill passed in July last year. In contrast, his father issued 44 vetoes in 4 years, and Bill Clinton issued 37 in his two terms in office.

A second bill also passed the Senate, S.30. This bill, sponsored by Sen. Norm Coleman (R, Minn.) would allow the use of stem cells from embryos that were unable to develop into fetuses. The bill passed with a majority of 70-28, but I've not come across a single scientist who claims to understand the science behind it. How ESCs are to be obtained from "naturally dead embryos" remains a mystery to all, presumably including Sen. Coleman, who gets to look good to a scientifically-naive audience without actually helping science one iota.