Autor: ---- Fuente: Reuters Foundation

PARIS, Dec 11 (Reuters) - France's lower house of parliament backed draft legislation on Thursday making reproductive cloning of human cells a crime against humanity punishable by 30 years in jail and a 7.5 million euro ($9 million) fine.
The draft law would also ban cloning for therapeutic purposes -- the creation of stem cells for medical research -- and key techniques used in embryo research.
Final legislation will be adopted early next year assuming it is also passed by the upper house -- which like the lower house is dominated by President Jacques Chirac's ruling conservatives -- in a vote scheduled for February.
"This text is a sop to conservatives and is a step backwards compared to the first version," left-wing deputy Jacqueline Fraysse said, referring to an initial draft penned under the Socialist-led government which was ousted last year.
France has been one of the countries most opposed to cloning technologies. Chirac said this year he wanted to lead efforts for an international convention on bioethics to prevent abuse of cloning research.
The U.N. General Assembly decided on Tuesday to postpone for a year deliberations on a treaty banning human cloning that U.S. President George W. Bush's administration wants to extend to research on stem cells.
All 191 U.N. members agree on a treaty that would prohibit cloning of human beings. But nations are divided about whether to allow cloning human embryos for stem cell or therapeutic cloning.
Supporters of therapeutic cloning say the technique could prove valuable in the development of cures for a whole range of diseases, including Parkinson's disease and diabetes.
Stem cells, or master cells, have the potential to turn into any human cells and hold immense, though unproven, promise for treating a host of illnesses.
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