WASHINGTON - The politics of human embryo research are raising industry concerns that a measured response to the human cloning issue, called for by the Clinton administration and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC), could be undermined by Congress.

Last week, the House Science Committee approved the "Human Cloning Research Prohibition Act" (H.R. 922) by voice vote, marking the first committee action to ban federally funded research on cloning. Prior to the vote, the bill's sponsor, Rep. Vernon Ehlers (R-Mich.) amended the legislation with wording that bans the "use of human somatic cell nuclear transfer technology to produce an embryo."