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Qualifying date rule hinders German stem cell research
Date:4/9/2008

This release is available in German.

A few days before the German Federal Parliament reaches a decision on the Stem Cell Act, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation) has reinforced its stance on amending current legislation. The current qualifying date rule, in particular, strongly impedes German stem cell research, explained DFG Vice President Professor Jrg Hinrich Hacker, while participating in a live chat session on the DFG website. The best thing for basic research would be if this qualifying date rule, a deadline which restricts the period in which embryonic stem cell lines are allowed to be imported, were to be abolished altogether, as the DFG recommended in a statement on stem cell research it released 18 months ago, he emphasised. Hacker recently also became President of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) in Berlin.

From the point of view of molecular biologists, even moving the deadline would be an improvement compared to the current situation. Hacker also called for an end to the criminalisation of German researchers. The current legislation leaves the legal situation of German researchers involved in cooperative projects with stem cell researchers abroad unclear. This deters young researchers, in particular, from becoming involved in stem cell research. The DFG is also of the opinion, said Hacker, that stem cell lines should also be used for diagnostic, therapeutic and preventative purposes.

Other topics touched upon during the one-hour live chat session, during which Hacker responded to 27 questions, were the prospects for research on adult stem cells. This, Hacker emphasised, is not viewed by the DFG as standing in contrast to research on embryonic stem cells, but as a logical extension. The recent scientific findings on induced pluripotent stem cells were also addressed, a topic which Hacker describ
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Contact: Dr. Eva-Maria Streier
em.streier@dfg.de
49-228-885-2250
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft
Source:Eurekalert

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