‘Pre-embryos’ Revisited: a historical sociology of translational biology (360G-Wellcome-208235_Z_17_Z)


This project will revisit the debates on human fertilisation and embryology that took place after the release of the Warnock report in 1984 and ended with the enactment of the Human fertilisation and Embryology Act in 1990. Firstly, it will ask how developmental biologist Dame Anne McLaren (1927-2007) used the scientific concept of the ‘pre-embryo’ as a rhetorical device in the debates to make the case for the continuation of research. McLaren’s role as the only research scientist on the Warnock Committee, but also in public debate and in the scientific community offers insight into the translational dimensions of human embryo research. Secondly, the research will explore the legacy of the term ‘pre-embryo’ by asking practicing developmental biologists conducting research that begs for an extended limit on in vitro research on human embryos, to reflect on the term in order to suggest which lessons about biological translation can be taken from the debates in the 1980s, and to assess the usefulness of new scientific terms and concepts when engaging lay-audiences in scientific debates.

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Grant Details

Amount Awarded 135903
Applicant Surname Bigg
Approval Committee ERG11 Social Science and Bioethics, Early Career Awards
Award Date 2017-05-02T00:00:00+00:00
Financial Year 2016/17
Grant Programme: Title PhD Studentship in H&SS
Internal ID 208235/Z/17/Z
Lead Applicant Miss Marieke Bigg
Partnership Value 135903
Planned Dates: End Date 2021-04-02T00:00:00+00:00
Planned Dates: Start Date 2017-10-02T00:00:00+00:00
Recipient Org: Country United Kingdom
Region East of England
Sponsor(s) Prof Sarah Franklin