#9 Speaking up for embryo and animal research

To celebrate the Academy’s 20th birthday, we have put together a snapshot of 20 of our biggest impacts. To find out more about our 20th celebrations and our future plans, read this blog by our President Professor Sir Robert Lechler, and follow #AMS20 on social media.

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#9 Speaking up for embryo and animal research

“The Academy can be relied upon as an authoritative and trusted source of independent expert comments to help navigate the complex questions that science seeks to address.”

Professor Dame Sally Davies DBE FRS FMedSci, Chief Medical Officer

Our 2007 report on interspecies embryos was instrumental in influencing the Government’s decision to support this research and an invaluable source of information during debates on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. This report took less than four months to produce from start to finish; it was the first report on the topic in the world; and it was studied by bodies in the USA, Singapore, Australia and Denmark. The Academy was invited to assist the pre-legislative Scrutiny Committee for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill and briefed Parliamentarians as it passed through Parliament.

In 2011 the Academy published ‘Animals containing human material’, which called for additional oversight to ensure that innovative science using these animal models could flourish, within clearly defined ethical boundaries, and with public support. The report was timed to influence UK legislation to implement the EU Directive on the use of animals in research. The report also led to the development of guidance for these experimental animals from the Home Office, Department of Health and Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.

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