LONDON — Two research groups in the UK have been granted the first licenses to proceed with programmes designed to develop human embryonic stem cell lines, after new regulations were introduced last week to govern this area of research.

The UK Human Fertilisation and Embryo Authority (HFEA), the regulatory body that oversees human fertilization and related research in the UK, approved applications from two research groups to develop stem cell lines from human embryos. Previously, researchers in the UK were allowed only to work with human fetal cells or blastocysts in research directly related to improving the management of infertility, and were not allow to culture embryonic stem cell lines for a prolonged period.

A group at Edinburgh University has been licensed to develop embryonic stem cell lines to be used in studies designed to develop new therapeutic approaches to Parkinson's disease, and a team at King's College London has...

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