Nature Group does not explain the reasons for this change. In any case, the question remains if its decision is based on new scientific evidence.

Research using human embryos and embryonic stem cells has prompted a fierce ethical debate. As editors of these types of studies, the journal Nature and journals published by the Nature group take this responsibility very seriously.

For many years, the Nature group has required an ethical assessment for papers related to experimentation with human embryos or to the use of human stem cells. They have now revised their policy for editing these types of papers.

The Nature group encourages authors who publish in their journals to abide by the ethical guidelines published in 2016 by the International Society for Stem Cell Research – ISSCR. To encourage this attitude, it identifies the types of articles that must be accompanied by a bioethical assessment or include the ethical opinion of an expert in this field; for papers that are considered particularly sensitive, the Nature group requires assessment by a bioethicist, as well as the usual peer review. These experts must set standards that guarantee the required ethical conditions.  In addition, the authors must submit the corresponding informed consent form and a report from the bioethics committee.


For many years, the Nature group has required an ethical assessment for papers related to experimentation with human embryos or to the use of human stem cells. They have now revised their policy for editing these types of papers.


An independent bioethical review will also be required for studies that use intact human embryos or embryo-like biological structures.

Many countries currently ban cell cultures of embryos beyond 14 days (see HERE report published in Nature with the scientific evidence of the early embryo biological identity and a video bellow).

The editors of Nature say that their policy is complemented with the support of the researchers, ethicists, politicians and institutions who fund this research (See more HERE)

Ethics of scientific research

From the Bioethics Observatory at the Catholic University of Valencia, we hardly need to say that, while these ethical guidelines proposed by Nature seem commendable, we believe that they fall short because underlying them is the possibility of using stem cells from embryos younger than 14 days.  Our ethical stance is that under no circumstances should scientists experiment with human embryos of any age, or with the cells obtained from them. From a bioethical point of view, these experiments are completely unacceptable.