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Governance-by-standards in the field of stem cells: managing uncertainty in the world of ‘basic innovation’

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JournalNew Genetics and Society
DatePublished - Jun 2008
Issue number2
Volume27
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)99-111
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

This paper explores the role of the International Stem Cell Initiative (ISCI) in its attempt to develop biological standards and experimental protocols for the embryonic field as a whole. Drawing on empirical research derived from UK and other labs and fieldwork within ISCI meetings, we describe the way standards have emerged and the difficulties in stabilizing them at the local level. The paper discusses the ways in which this form of governance-by-standards acts to manage uncertainty - to a degree - and suggests that this requirement to manage uncertainty is becoming a key characteristic of what we call "basic innovation". We conclude by drawing out the implications of this for the management of uncertainty and the increasingly diverse regulatory space that will be needed to oversee the eventual clinical application of hESC.

    Research areas

  • governance, stem cells, standards

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