SYDNEY, Australia — Australia is set to join the many countries that now outlaw cloning of humans with a report to the federal government recommending that the cloning of humans be made illegal.
However, the report by the National Health & Medical Research Council (NHMRC), Australia's premier body for funding medical research, also recommended that the ban be carefully worded so that it covers only the cloning of whole humans.
The report said the ban should apply to cloning techniques for human embryos and not to the cloning of DNA and cells. At present, three of Australia's six states — Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia — have laws banning the cloning of humans, but scientists in the rest of the country would be bound by NHMRC's ethical guidelines.
The Australian government is not bound to follow the recommendations of the report, delivered to its health minister, Mike Wooldridge, but is unlikely to ignore the recommendations in this area. — Mark Lawson