France: cloning banned

However, the new bioethics law has given the green light to research on supernumerary embryos

While the German Bundestag has just decided to allow the import of embryonic stem cells only in exceptional cases – the Grande Nation has already offered its stem cell lines – the pan-European discussion about the hot potato "Bioethics" in France is already a step further: the question of when one should "Cell accumulation" The question of whether or not a human being worth protecting can be described as a human life worth protecting does not really seem to arise any more.

After years of back and forth, the government has finally decided to present a revision of the bioethics law in line with the signs of the times. However, it is not risking too much: February 22 is the end of the current legislative period.February is the end of the current legislative period, when a new National Assembly and the head of state will be elected. With the result that the currently available text of the law, which still has to pass the Senate in order to come into force, could soon look a little different. Or not.

What was already possible in Spain, Denmark, Great Britain and Sweden could now become reality in France: Research on so-called supernumerary embryos, those in vitro fertilized eggs left over from artificial insemination procedures, will be permitted. provided that there is a written consent of the two parents or. Sperm or egg donor. At the same time "Agency for Reproduction, Embryology and Human Genetics" (APEGH), which is supposed to frame the respective research projects and even monitor them. With this, the hunger of the local research community for embryonic stem cells could be satisfied for the time being.

What may be disappointing for them, however, is that therapeutic cloning remains forbidden for the time being. The responsible ministers love to let it be known again and again that an early legalization is not to be excluded. This procedure, in which regenerative medicine in particular has high hopes, should in the future help to avoid abob reactions in tie or organ transplants. However, one is still far from being ready:

"Genetics is currently at the point where knowledge of infectious diseases was at the time of Louis Pasteur, when he first identified microbes and viruses in 1870. It then took more than 70 years until we finally had antibiotics", explains the geneticist and conservative MP, Jean-Francois Mattei.

29 socialist deputies had tried in vain to enshrine therapeutic cloning in the text of the law right now. Much clearer and unsurprising is the French position on the topic of "reproductive cloning" is clear: This remains strictly forbidden and can be punished with a prison sentence of up to 20 years. 5 years for those involved in such procedures, even if they took place outside French territory.

Furthermore, research protocols have been approved to improve medically assisted reproduction techniques and preimplantation diagnostics. At present, 80% of artificial inseminations still end in failure. To improve the "hit rate" the hit rate, embryos may now be created purely for research purposes "created" .

A point that had, of course, met with fierce resistance from Christian conservative members of parliament. But they were happy about the fact that artificial insemination will continue to be available only to heterosexual couples. On the other hand, the post-mortem transfer of embryos created in vitro as part of a couple’s family planning process has been approved. On the condition that the father has given his express written consent during his lifetime. Obwohl von vielen schon seit langerer Zeit verlangt, hatte der Gesetzgeber hier gezogert, weil man Schwierigkeiten in Erbschafts- und Nachfolgeangelegenheiten heraufziehen sah. Therefore, the transfer should be enabled only in a period of 6 to 18 months after the death of the father.

Ban on gene patents

"An isolated element of the human body or an element produced by other technical means, including the sequencing or partial sequencing of a gene, cannot constitute a patentable invention".

This is the exact wording of the paragraph, which was incorporated into the text of the law at the insistence of the communists. The communists, however, had asked for much more: they wanted the ban on gene patents to be extended to animals and plants. The Minister of Labor and Solidarity, Elisabeth Guigou, is nevertheless proud of this "French advance" and hopes that this principle will be adopted by the UN.

A hot potato, which Jospin and Co. did not want to tackle this time is the ie of genetic testing "genetic testing", which, as promised, was supposed to be tackled with the revision of the bioethics law. This was rather postponed to another law and until then preventive genetic tests, which are of burning interest to employers as well as insurance companies, are in a legal vacuum.

Employers urged the use of genetic testing of their future employees in order to create a genetic profile. ostensibly to detect possible hypersensitivities to materials in advance. The French Insurance Federation (FFSA) had already ruled out the possibility of genetic testing of policyholders to evaluate possible risks of disease in 1999, but is now showing interest again …

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