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The Vatican Updates Its Edict

Taking into account recent developments in biomedical technology over the last 20 years or so, a new document backed by Pope Benedict XVI called "Dignitas Personae (The Dignity of a Person), an Instruction of Certain Bioethical Questions," reasserts the Vatican's opposition to embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, and human cloning. The morning after pill and other similar drugs were called "gravely immoral," says a BBC story. Another story in the New York Times says, "The Vatican says these techniques violate the principle that every human life — even an embryo — is sacred, and that children should be conceived only through intercourse by a married couple."

The Church does not, however, oppose research on stem cells from adults, blood from umbilical cords, or from fetuses that have died of natural causes.

 

The Scan

Pig Organ Transplants Considered

The Wall Street Journal reports that the US Food and Drug Administration may soon allow clinical trials that involve transplanting pig organs into humans.

'Poo-Bank' Proposal

Harvard Medical School researchers suggest people should bank stool samples when they are young to transplant when they later develop age-related diseases.

Spurred to Develop Again

New Scientist reports that researchers may have uncovered why about 60 percent of in vitro fertilization embryos stop developing.

Science Papers Examine Breast Milk Cell Populations, Cerebral Cortex Cellular Diversity, Micronesia Population History

In Science this week: unique cell populations found within breast milk, 100 transcriptionally distinct cell populations uncovered in the cerebral cortex, and more.