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France Changes Embryo Research Law

France is loosening its restrictions on regulating research that involves human embryos and embryonic stem cells, according to Elisabeth Pain of Science Insider.

The new law, which passed the French National Assembly yesterday, will overturn a policy that banned research involving human embryos and stem cells unless investigators could show that there

French scientists hope that the new policy will give them more academic freedom and enable more collaborations with other countries that have different policies and with industry partners who want to test out therapies developed using human embryo research, Pain says.

Under the new law, researchers will be able to conduct human embryo and embryonic stem cell research so long as the project is deemed to have scientific relevance, it is performed toward a medical end, and cannot be done using other techniques, and it adheres to ethical principles, Pain says.

"We've been fighting for this law for 10 years," says Cécile Martinat, a cell biologist at the Institute for Stem cell Therapy and Exploration of Monogenic diseases, said, explaining that opponents of such research were able to block projects in that past by arguing that induced pluripotent stem cells could be used as alternatives.

"We hope to unlock doors that were stupidly closed," Martinat says.