Very little media notice has been given to new prohibitions
genetic modification in Japan and the Netherlands.
According to an October 6 Reuters report, the Japanese cabinet
approved a bill making it illegal to put a cloned human embryo
the womb of a woman or animal. Violators could be sentenced
to up to
ten years in prison and fined up to 10 million yen ($91,670).
provisions are stiffer than those called for in an earlier version
the bill, which was scrapped after opponents argued it was too
Japan's Kyodo News agency said that the government will draft
guidelines to allow research on cloned human embryos.
The Dutch government has introduced a bill into parliament
ban human cloning, sex selection, and germline manipulation.
would also forbid scientists to create human embryos for research,
would allow them to use "surplus" embryos from in
clinics under strict conditions. The Dutch position is seen
as a middle
ground between the European Parliament's call to ban non-reproductive
cloning and the proposal of the UK government's advisors to
creation of human embryos by cloning in order to obtain embryonic
cells. (See Issue 11 of this newsletter.)
British Medical Journal coverage of the Dutch legislation is