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2002-2004, South Carolina Statehouse Report. Published weekly during the S.C. legislative session. South Carolina Statehouse Report is a media project of The Brack Group, Charleston, S.C.

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1.17: Cloning bill could cost millions in future research
(Week of April 30, 2002)

APRIL 26, 2002 - - The state's research universities are gravely concerned about House changes to a bill that would ban human cloning.

While a Senate-passed version of the bill strictly banned clones of humans, a reworded version in the House appears to restrict future research severely at universities - - so much so that universities say they could lose millions of dollars in research funding and scores of talented researchers to other states.

Sources say the House version, loaded with "right-to-life" language and impacts, essentially would prohibit human genetic and stem-cell research - - both of which promise to hold future cures and treatments for all sorts of crippling diseases, from Alzheimer's to Parkinson's. The House version apparently won't have a direct impact on current funding, but would hamstring researchers from future genetic projects.

While the House version says it will not restrict all research, here's the clause that appears to be troubling (emphasis added):

"Nothing in subsection (B) restricts areas of scientific research not specifically prohibited by this section, including research in the use of nuclear transfer or other cloning techniques to produce molecules, DNA, cells other than human embryos, tissues, organs, plants, or animals other than humans or human-animal chimera."

In other words, the provision could restrict, among other things, research to grow replacement organs and tissues from genetic research.

But proponents of the measure say the House version of the bill only would restrict using human embryos in research. Researchers couldn't, for example, create a human embryo, use some cells from it and then destroy it. Using human cells to produce new tissues or organs would not be affected, supporters say.

If the House language is part of any final legislation, universities say the impact could be dramatic: the end to millions of future dollars in federal research grants and the transfer of brilliant researchers out of the state. With the loss of those minds and research, the state would lose a valuable training ground for South Carolina students and the potential for millions of dollars of money to be injected into the economy from industries that spin-off from research.

The bill, modified this week by the Judiciary Committee, remains on the House calendar, but may pass the House floor in coming weeks. Because the original bill was a Senate bill, the proposal would go to a conference committee if the Senate did not concur.


11/3: Use your vote wisely: a lesson
10/27: SC GOP to keep control of House
10/20: Black voters may be secret weapon
10/13: Talk is cheap; action takes courage
10/6: Creating sunshine to dampen negative ads
9/29: SC Set to be world leader in news research
9/22: SC Senate shift could be around corner
9/15: Gov's race about barbs, ads, not people
9/8: Shorfall may cause look at prison alternatives
9/2: Revitalize your patriotism by participating
8/25: S.C.'s fiscal situation could be a lot worse
8/18: State wetlands policy needed
8/11: The bully vs. the whiner
8/4: Noah's Ark approach to tax reform
7/28: Two-party system could be political outcome
7/21: State budget woes loom for 2 more years
7/14: Agencies can do better job on Internet
7/5: Thank a guardsman today for service
6/28: Hodges-Sanford race will be wild ride
6/21: Sanford-Peeler race's impact on GOP
6/14: Ethics reform needed now

More done than you'd think(1.23)
More education $ also means cuts (1.22)
PSC reform to come, but when?(1.21)



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