Final rules for human embryonic stem (ES) cell research, announced this afternoon (July 6) by the National Institutes of Health, require strict documentation detailing voluntary donation of embryos leftover from in-vitro fertilization procedures, but they also contain a mechanism for approving individual cell lines that don't meet the letter of the law but still adhere to the spirit of informed consent.
Human embryonic stem cells
Image: Wikimedia/PLoS
The draft guidelines proposed in April explicitly required certain types of informed consent forms showing that cells were first freely donated for scientific research generally and then for stem cell research specifically. Those rules will apply to all new cell lines created after the rules go into effect tomorrow, the linkurl:final guidelines; say, but there's a loophole for grandfathering in older cell lines. After poring over nearly 50,000 comments on its proposals, the NIH decided to form a working group to also consider...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!