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The American Society for Microbiology (ASM), the largest single life science society representing over 42,000 scientists, supports the "Draft National Institutes of Health Guidelines for Research Involving Human Pluripotent Stem Cells" (64 Federal Register 67576). The ASM concurs with the intended purpose of the draft guidelines to ensure that NIH-funded research in this area is conducted in an ethical and legal manner.

The ASM believes that the NIH proposed guidelines emphasize the ethical, legal and social concerns associated with research using pluripotent stem cells derived from human embryos while at the same time recognizing the enormous potential of this research to alleviate human suffering. Involvement of the federal government in the funding and oversight of the conduct of this research will permit scientific and medical benefits to be realized and will ensure that the results of the research are accessible to the public.

The ASM commends NIH for the deliberative process it is following and for the development of these carefully constructed guidelines.

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