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Panel limits use of embryos

US President's Council restricts study of embryos past 14 days, silent on work before that

Alison McCook(abmccook@yahoo.com)

The President's Council on Bioethics released another report on Thursday (April 1) recommending a ban on reproductive cloning and a restriction of the use of embryos past 10 to 14 days after fertilization. However, the report failed to include any recommendations about studying embryos within the proposed limits, both those left over from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics or cloned using somatic cell nuclear transfer procedures.

Consequently, this report will likely have little impact on researchers currently using IVF-created embryos, which are largely in the 5- to 6-day stage of development, Council Deputy Staff Director Yuval Levin told The Scientist. The recommendations “don't limit research as it's practiced now,” Levin said. He added that, to the government's knowledge, no researchers are currently creating embryos solely for the purpose of research.

The council also recommends a prohibition of “attempts to conceive a child by any means other than the union...

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