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Although Tennessee law does not prohibit research on human embryos, it does, similar to federal guidelines, require that the expressed consent of the mother prior to an aborted fetus being used for research. The state also prohibits the sale of aborted fetuses. Despite these regulations, numerous Tennessee-based universities and research centers conduct important investigations in stem cell science and therapy. Prominent among them is Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Embryonic stem cell research in Tennessee came to national attention in 2010 when Judge Royce C. Lambert granted an injunction against the use of federal funds in embryonic stem cell research. As a portion of the preliminary motions in Sherley v. Sebelius, the judge concluded that the Dickey-Wicker Amendment of 1995 prohibited the federal government from funding any ...

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