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Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Floridians Want State Money Put Aside for Stem Cells and Cloning!

A group called Floridians for Stem Cell Research and Cures launched a California-style initiative Monday, with its leaders pledging to seek taxpayer money not only for research on embryos, but also for therapeutic cloning.

"Whether it's Alzheimer's or Parkinson's or cancer, we should be doing everything we possibly can to look for the answers, for the solutions," said state Sen. Ron Klein, D-Boca Raton.

Florida's $11.3 billion tobacco settlement in 1997 could be a potential funding source for the research, Aaronson said. No dollar amount has been determined.

Gov. Jeb Bush opposes state funding of embryonic stem cell research, citing an objection to destroying embryos that he says represent human life.

Religious groups also are sure to fight embryonic stem cell research.

"Clearly, embryonic stem cell research does necessitate the destruction of a living, developing human being," said Florida Catholic Conference health director Michael Sheedy. In contrast, he said, adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells are promising and don't pose ethical quandaries. "The cures are coming, but without the destruction of embryos," he said.

Therapeutic cloning removes the nucleus of an unfertilized egg cell and replaces it with another cell. This process was the basis for cloning Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell.

In the amendment, therapeutic cloning would be called by its scientific name -- "somatic cell nuclear transfer" -- Siegel said.~(Watch the Language Change!)