Scientists would soon be able to use tissue from dead people to create cloned human stem cells for research, thanks to a legal change put forward by the British government. Health ministers have proposed that laboratories should be given the permission to use stored human tissue to create cloned embryonic stem cells without the explicit consent of the tissue donor, reports Times Online.
According to them, this would allow research to be done on tissue donated for medical research as long as 30 years ago.
Many laboratories contain banks of stored tissue that act as DNA libraries that can play a significant role in finding cures for serious disorders such as diabetes and motor neurone disease.
Until now, ministers insisted scientists to contact tissue donors to gain explicit consent before DNA can be used to create cloned embryonic stem cells.
However, leading scientists said that gaining such consent is sometimes impossible because the donors have died, donated anonymously or cannot be contacted.
They said that the ban on using DNA without consent could hold up vital research.
Ministers have tabled an amendment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, now passing through parliament, which would allow stored tissue and cells to be used without the explicit consent of donors.
The amendment, which is expected to be supported by most MPs, will be debated this week.