News of the WeekBiomedical Research

Researchers Generally Happy With Final Stem Cell Rules

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Science  10 Jul 2009:
Vol. 325, Issue 5937, pp. 131
DOI: 10.1126/science.325_131

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Scientists expressed satisfaction this week with the final guidelines on research with human embryonic stem (ES) cells issued on Monday by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The new rules—which set out criteria for determining which ES cell lines can be used in federally funded experiments—give NIH discretion to approve old lines that don't meet stringent modern ethical requirements. And they call for NIH to set up a registry of eligible lines. Stem cell researchers call them "a major step in the right direction," although some were disappointed that NIH didn't open the door to the use of embryos created for research purposes—including through somatic cell nuclear transfer (cloning) and parthenogenesis (from an unfertilized egg).