ROME, Aug. 11 (Xinhuanet) -- Italy reacted with shock and disapproval on Wednesday to the news that British scientists have received permission to clone human embryos for medical research.
Most politicians, scientists and doctors tended to take positions reflecting fears that such experiments could be the thinend of the wedge.
"It's not possible to justify this decision in any way," said Francesco D'Agostino, head of Italy's government-appointed National Bioethics Committee.
In what was hailed as the first such license given in Europe, Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority said researchers at Newcastle University will be allowed to clone humanembryos.
The cloned embryos will be used to provide the stem cells with which scientists can look for cures to a range of diseases.
The embryos will be destroyed before they are 14 days old.
"I am in favor of using stem cells for medical research but I am strongly against the whole idea of cloning," said Giuseppe Del Barone, head of Italy's federation of doctors' guilds, expressing a common position in the country.
A similarly negative view came from Rita Levi Montalcini, one of the deans of Italy's medical community and a Nobel prize winnerfor her work on growth factors.
The Italian parliament recently approved legislation banning all experiments on embryos and human cloning, including those for medical research. Enditem