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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: British Prime Minister Tony Blair is in California. One reason is to create a close link between British and American scientists working in the field of stem cell research. Stephen Beard has more on that story from London.

STEPHEN BEARD: Tony Blair may toe the President's foreign policy line but the two men differ on this issue. Blair will argue that California and Britain should co-operate more closely on embryonic stem cells.

Blair, a committed Christian, says he sees nothing wrong with the research. It offers the hope of better treatments for spinal injuries and diseases like Parkinsons.

And, says David Macauley of the UK Stem Cell Foundation, there are big commercial benefits.

DAVID MACAULEY: This is probably one of the biggest new market opportunities that exist globally. I mean you're looking at $8 billion US just in terms of the manufacturing value of this. So it is an absolutely vast market.

Britain hopes to create a world beating alliance between its researchers and California's powerful biotech industry. A joint UK-California conference on the subject is planned in Britain in the fall.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.