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Articles on Human embryos

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Science can observe these various phases of fetal development but cannot determine when human life begins. UrsaHoogle/E+ via Getty Images

Defining when human life begins is not a question science can answer – it’s a question of politics and ethical values

Some people seeking to influence public opinion about abortion rights claim the science is clear. It’s not, and that means abortion remains a political question – not a biological one.
Louise Brown, who was the world’s first baby to be born from in vitro fertilization (IVF) in 1978, poses with equipment used in early IVF treatments. Daniel Leal-Olivas/ Getty

The fertility industry is poorly regulated – and would-be parents can lose out on having children as a result

An unknown number of people have lost their dreams of parenthood because of storage disasters at fertility clinics. These experts note poor government oversight and the need for stronger regulation.
A human blastocyst. Researchers have now created ‘model’ versions of this early embryonic structure by reprogramming human skin cells. Harimiao/Wikimedia Commons

Researchers have grown ‘human embryos’ from skin cells. What does that mean, and is it ethical?

Two research groups have turned human skin cells into structures resembling an early-stage human embryo, paving the way for exciting new research avenues, and opening up some tricky ethical questions.
The team used CRISPR on human embryos in a bid to render them resistant to HIV infection. But instead, they generated different mutations, about which we know nothing. SHUTTERSTOCK

China’s failed gene-edited baby experiment proves we’re not ready for human embryo modification

A number of things may have gone wrong when researchers edited Chinese twins Lulu and Nana’s genome. Either way, the failed experiment is a cautionary tale for us all.
Scientists are using a powerful gene editing technique to understand how human embryos develop. shutterstock

Genome editing of human embryos broadens ethics discussions

A new gene editing experiment explores human development. With this comes new ethical questions: How do scientists acquire embryos and how are their projects approved?
Controversial gene editing should not proceed without citizen input and societal consensus. (Shutterstock)

Human genome editing: We should all have a say

A team in the U.S. is said to have safely and effectively altered human embryos. The news is a reminder that citizens must be consulted on developments potentially affecting the future of the species.

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