For over 35 years, the “14-Day Rule,” prohibiting in vitro experimentation on embryos beyond 14 days, has stood as an ethical line in the sand for embryo research around the world. Throughout the arc of the rule’s existence it has not been questioned, as scientists have been unable to grow embryos in vitro either up to, or beyond, 14 days; a practical limitation that served as a backstop to the ethical rule. However, in May of this year, labs in the U.S. and the U.K. were the first to report being able to sustain human embryos in vitro for up to 13 days. This development and other advances in in vitro research involving organized, embryo-like cellular structures have raised a number of questions about the rule, its genesis, application, and future scope. This conference will convene experts in bioethics, stem cell research, embryology, and law to discuss the ethical underpinnings and future scope of the rule. Questions to be discussed include:
- What are the historical, ethical and scientific rationales for establishing the 14-Day Rule?
- Should the 14-Day Rule be revisited in light of recent advances?
- Should the 14-Day Rule even apply to research involving the in vitro culture of embryo-like cellular structures?
- Robert D. Truog, MD, Professor of Medical Ethics, Anaesthesiology & Pediatrics and Director of the Center for Bioethics, Harvard Medical School
3:15pm: Advances in Human Developmental Biology In Vitro
- George Church, PhD, Professor of Genetics, Harvard Medical School; Director, PersonalGenomes.org
3:45pm: Historical and Ethical Underpinnings of the 14 Day Rule
- Insoo Hyun, PhD, Associate Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy, Department of Bioethics and Director, CWRU Stem Cell Ethics Center, Case Western Reserve University
4:30pm: Panel Discussion: Future Scope of the 14 Day Rule
- Moderator: Insoo Hyun, PhD, Associate Professor of Bioethics and Philosophy, Department of Bioethics and Director, CWRU Stem Cell Ethics Center, Case Western Reserve University
Registration: This event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and registration is required.
This event is sponsored by the Harvard University Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, and the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School, with support from the International Society for Stem Cell Research, the Center for Bioethics at Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.