January 18, 2017
(BBC) – Experts are renewing calls to allow experiments on embryos beyond 14 days of development, saying it would drive medical breakthroughs. Research on human embryos can only happen under a licence in the UK and it is currently illegal to keep them alive in laboratories for more than two weeks after fertilisation. Until recently, this cut-off was almost irrelevant in terms of viability since science had not found a way to physically support life in the lab beyond about a week. But researchers have found a way to chemically mimic the womb which would allow an early stage embryo to continue to develop for longer – at least 13 days after fertilisation, but potentially much more.
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