Roiling the waters on stem cells in Europe

OXFORD - Britain once again seems to have polarized opinion in Europe over the issue of human embryonic stem cell research. By voting to extend its already liberal human fertility and embryology legislation on the limited use of human embryos to include stem cell research, the British parliament attracted both condemnation and applause across Europe.

While some of Europe's more conservative elements reaffirmed their opposition to the development of human embryonic stem cell technology, some member states, such as France, Italy and the Netherlands, have already hinted that they may introduce similar legislation.

Meanwhile, the European Commission, which spends much of its time looking to create a single European area, already has declared that it will not seek to develop pan-European legislation on the issue, even though the European Parliament has called for an outright ban on development of the technology.

In the past six weeks, politicians in both U.K.

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