Our Grants

Drawing the line: Assessing and analyzing the US Rule on embryo research from ethical, political, and scientific perspectives

Kirstin Matthews, PhD
Rice University
Grant Type Making a Difference
Grant Cycle spring 2017
Duration 18 months
Amount $153,637

Human embryo research is restricted in vitro to the 14th day of development in the United States, a stage prior to the formation of the primitive streak—an observable, early step towards the formation of neural tissue. In 2016, scientists published the first reports cultivating human embryos to this time point. Many scientists and ethicists are now questioning the validity of the deadline. Is it an ethically justifiable point to end research? Or is it just a public policy tool to limit research that previously was only hypothetically possible? In this project, we will assess the human embryo 14-day limit through scientific, legal and ethical perspectives and make recommendations regarding the ethical and scientific advisability of an extension. Project outcomes include at least several open-access and peer-reviewed publications, a public event, and a workshop. The results will help guide current policy and future assessments of human embryo research.