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WITHIN HOURS after the top advisory committee to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) unanimously gave the green light to fund research on the human embryo late last year, President Bill Clinton ordered the NIH not to fund studies that would create embryos solely for research. However, federal funds will still be available for research on embryos from fertilized human eggs prepared for in vitro fertilization treatments but not used for that purpose.
The president's action removes the most contentious item involving embryo research from the agenda developed last year by an ad hoc panel. The ad hoc panel, whose function was to advise on research pursuits, was specifically charged with laying out the circumstances under which research on embryos should be done (JAMA. 1994;272: 1311-1312), but that is only one of several recommendations it made.
In its report issued last September, the ad hoc panel concluded after agonized discussion
Marwick C. Feds May Fund Study of Existing Embryos Only. JAMA. 1995;273(2):97-98. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520260013006