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Should the 14-day limit on embryo research be extended?

Strict regulation can help—not hinder—scientific progress

By Philip Ball  

©Human embryonic stem cells, in cell culture

In 1984, a committee appointed by the British government to draw up guidelines for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) in the wake of the birth of Louise Brown, the first “test-tube” baby, recommended that scientific research on human embryos should be permitted up to a maximum of 14 days after conception.

The recommendations of this report, led by moral philosopher Mary (now Baroness) Warnock, didn’t become law until the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act was passed by…

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