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Stem cell research

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 09 December 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:1427

The UK government should sanction carefully regulated research

  1. Tessa Richards, associate editor (
  1. BMJ

    Later this month the UK parliament is scheduled to vote on recommendations on stem cell research made in a report by the chief medical officer, Liam Donaldson.1 The leading recommendation is that research using human embryos should be permitted to allow exploration of the nature and therapeutic potential of stem cells. The outcome of the vote may have repercussions well outside the United Kingdom for there is considerable controversy, both in the United States and Europe, about this form of stem cell research.

    Research on human embryos up to a limit of 14 days is already permitted in the United Kingdom, under the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, in five specific areas. These include infertility and pre-implantation diagnosis of genetic and chromosomal disorders. The chief medical officer's report proposes expanding the purposes for which human embryos may be used under the act, and it would cover research using stem cells derived by cell nuclear transfer as well as from “spare” embryos created during in vitro fertilisation procedures. Research would be …

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