California state law and California Institute of Regenerative Medicine regulations require that a stem cell research oversight committee (SCRO) oversee and review all human stem cell research undertaken by UC Merced faculty and staff members and students. This review requirement applies to the use of human gametes and blastocysts (embryos), the derivation and/or use of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), human embryonic or fetal germ cells, human adult and fetal stem cells and any other human pluripotent stem cells.

UC Merced has entered into a memorandum of understanding with the University of California, Davis, to have the UC Davis SCRO committee serve as UC Merced’s SCRO of record. All human stem cell research taking place at UC Merced will undergo review and approval by the UC Davis SCRO. As such, all UC Davis SCRO policies and procedures apply to UC Merced researchers doing human stem cell research.

Activities that may be permitted after review by the SCRO:

  • Generation of new lines of human pluripotent stem cells from whatever source and by whatever means;
  • Use of human gametes, embryos or human adult, fetal or embryonic stem cells;
  • Activities involving the introduction of human adult, fetal or embryonic cell lines into nonhuman animals at any stage of embryonic, fetal or postnatal development, provided that investigators evaluate the probable pattern and effects of differentiation and integration of the human cells into the nonhuman animal tissues; and
  • Activities in which the identity of the donors of blastocysts, gametes or somatic cells from which human stem cells were derived is readily ascertainable or might become known to the investigator

NOTE: Activities reviewed and approved by the SCRO may still require additional review by the UC Merced IRB, IACUC, IBC and/or COIC committees.

Activities that are not permitted and will not be approved by the SCRO include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The culture, in vitro, of any intact human embryo, regardless of derivation method, after the appearance of the primitive streak or after 12 days, whichever is earlier. The 12-day prohibition does not count any time during which the blastocysts and/or cells have been stored frozen;
  • The introduction of human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into nonhuman primate blastocysts and/or the introduction of any hESCs into human blastocysts;
  • The breeding of an animal into which hESCs have been introduced at any stage of development;
  • Introduction of hESCs into a human uterus or equivalent, or any experiments attempting human reproductive cloning.

The UC Merced SCRO of record is at UC Davis. Please visit the UC Davis Stem Cell Research Oversight Program website for more information about stem cell research, applying to the SCRO, application forms, and federal and state stem cell research regulations.