• Germany's news in English

Germany liberalizes stem cell research

The Local · 11 Apr 2008, 12:19

Published: 11 Apr 2008 12:19 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Until now, researchers were only allowed to use stem cells acquired from abroad before January 1, 2002. Now scientists will be allowed to access cells collected before May 1, 2007.

Many scientists support the liberalization because they say older cells are inadequate for cutting edge research. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a physicist by training, has also backed the legislation changing the cell harvest date.

Stem cell research has given rise to heated debate in Germany because of sensitivity to eugenics experiments carried out by the Nazis during the Second World War. The Catholic church opposes stem cell research and warned the government not to change the cut-off date.

Director of the Max Planck Institute for molecular biomedicine Hans Schöler told news agency DPA he was happy with the vote. "Of course a total abolishment of the cut-off date would have been wonderful, but to put it pragmatically, now we can continue working," said Schöler, who plans to apply for the newly available stem cells right away.

But Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, head of German Catholics, said that "killing embryos will never be justifiable." His view was backed by Norbert Lammert, the president of the Bundestag, or lower chamber of parliament, who said: "There are limits, even for research."

President of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) Hans Joachim Meyer said in a statement on Friday that he was deeply disappointed with the decision.

Story continues below…

"We warned of this decision because we believe it is not justified, and sends the wrong message in light of the preservation of life in the field of biomedical research," Meyer said. "Now it's time for us to make sure the cut-off date ruling doesn't become a 'shifting sand dune,' because it will increase the lust for using human embryos for general research purposes."


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Eurowings braces as cabin crew union proclaims strike
Photo: DPA

A union representing cabin crew for Lufthansa's budget airline Eurowings announced that strikes could take place at any time over the next two weeks, starting on Monday.

Mysterious German U-boat wreckage found off Scotland
Photo: ScottishPower

First World War U-boat "attacked by sea monster” thought to be found off Scottish coast.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd