The National Institutes of Health (NIH) have proposed a change to how they define ‘stem cell’ in their guidelines for human stem cell research. The new, broader definition would allow several additional types of human stem cells (hESCs) to qualify for federal research funding. According to NIH, the definition included in their July 2009 guidelines “… had the unintended consequence of excluding certain hESCs which may otherwise be appropriate for Federal funding. For example, the current definition excludes hESCs from an embryo which fails to develop to the blastocyst stage.” Public comments on the new definition are being accepted until 25 March 2010. For more information, please visit


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