The Brazilian Supreme Court has affirmed scientists’ right to pursue human embryonic stem cell research by a vote of 6 to 5. Brazil became the first Latin American country to legalize this research in 2005. But the chief prosecutor at the time questioned the constitutionality of the biotechnology law and research was on hold for the last three years. Reactions to the decision were, as in most countries, poles apart. “A victory of knowledge over obscurantism," said the president of the National Bar Association, Cezar Britto. “Not much different from selling children to use their organs," said the country’s Catholic bishops. Scientists will be allowed to do research on stem cells drawn from embryos frozen for at least three years and considered unsuitable for human reproduction. According to the Health Ministry, these embryos would eventually be discarded. ~ Reuters, May 29
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