Stem cell lines eligible for US federal research dollars must be derived from embryos created for reproductive purposes that are no longer needed for those purposes, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced this afternoon (April 17). The agency will not fund research on cell lines derived from embryos created via in vitro fertilization for research rather than reproductive purposes, nor those created using somatic cell nuclear transfer or parthenogenesis. "This represents unequivocally a great expansion in opportunity" for scientists in the US to conduct federally funded stem cell research, said acting NIH director Raynard Kington at a press teleconference announcing the agency's awaited draft guidance on stem cell research. Kington defended the agency's decision not to fund research on embryos created explicitly for research or work involving somatic cell nuclear transfer. "We don't believe there is consensus yet, even within scientific community," on whether the type of research the...

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