In response to the recent Joint Committee report on the Draft Human Tissues and Embryos Bill, Sir Richard Gardner FRS, Chair of the Royal Society's stem cell working group, said: "It is excellent news that the joint committee shares our view that the HFEA and HTA should be kept separate - a merger risks diminishing the expertise to the detriment of both authorities. "It is essential that both the House of Commons and House of Lords are informed of all aspects of the debate on the creation of human-animal embryos prior to the proposed free-vote. Evidence from science organisations, research groups, patient groups and public opinion will be crucial to construct sound legislation.

"We hope that the new legislation permits the creation of all types of human-animal embryos for research, under the control of the relevant regulatory authority. It is crucial that regulators are allowed to do the job they were created to undertake. Clarifying the remits of such authorities will streamline the licensing process which is essential for fast moving scientific fields such as stem cell research."

The Royal Society is an independent academy promoting the natural and applied sciences. Founded in 1660, the Society has three roles, as the UK academy of science, as a learned Society, and as a funding agency. It responds to individual demand with selection by merit, not by field. As we prepare for our 350th anniversary in 2010, we are working to achieve five strategic priorities, to:

-- Invest in future scientific leaders and in innovation
-- Influence policymaking with the best scientific advice
-- Invigorate science and mathematics education
-- Increase access to the best science internationally
-- Inspire an interest in the joy, wonder and excitement of scientific discovery

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