More Clarity Needed Around Embryo Model Definitions

Insoo Hyun, PhD, Director of the Center for Life Sciences and Public Learning at the Museum of Science, Boston and member of the HMS Center for Bioethics, discussed embryo model definitions in a recent article for Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.

"Right now, there is a reasonably good definition of embryo models offered by the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), which draws a distinction between integrated and non-integrated embryo models. Integrated models strive to model the embryo proper, along with all the support tissues necessary for embryonic growth. Non-integrated models strive to model just one part of an embryo, not the whole thing.

"I think the policy definition of an embryo model, for federal funding and oversight reasons, should focus now on integrated models only... Right now, integrated models are not capable of supporting the development of fetal human life, but as the authors [of the Cell paper] suggest, there may come a time when this becomes the case."

Dr. Insoo will speak more on this topic in our upcoming Research Ethics Consortia: Biotechnology & Society webinar entitled, "Don't Call Them 'Synthetic Embryos': How Human Embryo Models Could Help Advance Bioscience" with co-instructor Lauren Walsh, JD and featured speaker Jun Wu, PhD. Details are available on the Eventbrite registration page. The series is free, online, and open to the public.

Read the full text on Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News.