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Scientists said this week that they had made the long-sought discovery of how sperm latches onto an egg in the very first spark of reproduction, the outcome of a near decade-long hunt.

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The House has passed legislation in support of stem cell research. The vote was 253 to 174. President Bush's only use of the veto was to nix a similar bill last year, and this proposed expansion of research is seen as a direct challenge to him.

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A U.S. research team has developed a method for creating stem cell lines without destroying human embryos by removing a single cell, leaving the embryo intact. If the technique proves to be effective, it should deflate the nonsense rhetoric of right-wing strategists who argue that the surplus embryos used by scientists?destined for disposal anyway?should not be used for lifesaving research.

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