Embryology policy: Revisit the 14-day rule

Insoo Hyun
Amy Wilkerson
Josephine Johnston
In a commentary in Nature, bioethicist Insoo Hyun and research specialists Amy Wilkerson and Josephine Johnston argue that the recent development of capabilities to extend the life of cultured embryos puts research "on a collision course" (2016:170) with the 14-day rule. As a result, the authors argue that the rule and its applications need to be reevaluated. They further claim that the 14-day rule was primarily an instrument of public policy that aimed to enable research while also maintaining public trust. They are quick to dismiss the idea that boundaries are redefined when they become inconvenient for science, but also imply that the public policy goal of supporting research is no longer met when new research developments brush up against existing regulations. They elevate the First International Summit on Human Gene Editing as an example of the kind of international discourse necessary to govern new technologies.