Governor signs endorsement of stem cell research

By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Illinois is now officially endorsing embryonic stem cell research.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich on Tuesday signed into law a measure supporting the research, which offers hope of medical breakthroughs, but is saddled with ethical questions.

The plan passed the Legislature this year after falling short in previous years.

It sets up an institute to award grants to scientists and allows “therapeutic cloning” for cell research.

The governor has used his executive authority to provide $15 million in grants over the last two years without legislative approval. The new law makes those grants a part of state law.

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    Critics object to the research because embryos are destroyed to collect stem cells. Supporters say it could lead to cures for devastating ailments like diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.