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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Variations and voids: the regulation of human cloning around the world

Shaun D Pattinson1 and Timothy Caulfield2*

Author Affiliations

1 Sheffield Institute of Biotechnological Law and Ethics (SIBLE), University of Sheffield, UK

2 Health Law Institute, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Canada

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BMC Medical Ethics 2004, 5:9  doi:10.1186/1472-6939-5-9

Published: 13 December 2004

Abstract

Background

No two countries have adopted identical regulatory measures on cloning. Understanding the complexity of these regulatory variations is essential. It highlights the challenges associated with the regulation of a controversial and rapidly evolving area of science and sheds light on a regulatory framework that can accommodate this reality.

Methods

Using the most reliable information available, we have performed a survey of the regulatory position of thirty countries around the world regarding the creation and use of cloned embryos (see Table 1). We have relied on original and translated legislation, as well as published sources and personal communications. We have examined the regulation of both reproductive cloning (RC) and non-reproductive cloning (NRC).

Results

While most of the countries studied have enacted national legislation, the absence of legislation in seven of these countries should not be equated with the absence of regulation. Senator Morin was not correct in stating that the majority of recent legislation bans both RC and NRC. Recent regulatory moves are united only with regard to the banning of RC. While NRC is not permitted in seventeen of the countries examined, it could be permitted in up to thirteen countries.

Conclusions

There is little consensus on the various approaches to cloning laws and policies, and the regulatory position in many countries remains uncertain.