Netherlands wants to grow human embryos for research


The Dutch government announced in a statement that it “wants to allow the creation of embryos for scientific research — and under very strict conditions to give people the possibility of (healthy) children,” this statement was made by the health minister, Edith Schippers, creating human embryos, will give hope to parents that are struggling to conceive and also to people who became infertile after being treated for cancer at an early age.

Until recently Netherlands allowed tests to be conducted only on leftover embryos procured from in vitro fertilisation processes, this will trigger a change in the governments laws on embryonic research. “The ban on the cultivation of embryos have hampered research which could help with the treatment of diseases on the short to medium-long term,” said the government in an effort to justify controversial move.

The cultivation would still have strict conditions applied to it, the statement said. Such embryos can only be used in research concerned with “infertility, artificial reproduction techniques and hereditary or congenital diseases.” The new regulations would not change the so-called 14-day rule” — which says that human embryos cannot be cultured in the lab for more than two weeks’. This rule was made in many countries, so as to avoid debate on when an embryo should be considered a human being rather than a tissue sample.

Britain this year granted its first research license to genetically modify human embryos in a project that will help women who struggle to get pregnant, this made Britain one of the first in the world to grant an authorization such as this on one of science’s new frontiers.

Last year Chinese researchers reported that they had modified genomes of human embryos, this caused a heated debate in the scientific community. According to critics, the editing procedure used by the Chinese failed to affect all embryos and therefore caused off-target mutations in some.

Earlier this month scientist in the US  reported that they had grown human embryos for nearly two weeks in the lab, this for the first time challenged the 14-day rule because no one had succeeded in keeping embryos alive for that long. They destroyed the embryos in order to avoid breaching the time limit given, which is two-weeks.

An embryo is a multicellular diploid eukaryote in an early stage of or development. In general, in organisms that reproduce sexually, an embryo develops from a zygote, the single cell resulting from the fertilization of the female egg cell by the male sperm cell. The zygote possesses half the DNA of each of its two parents. Tthe zygote will begin to divide by mitosis to produce a multicellular organism. The result of this process is an embryo.

In humans, a pregnancy is generally considered to be in the embryonic stage of development between the fifth and the eleventh weeks after fertilization, and is considered a fetus from the twelfth week on.

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