LAHORE - Punjab University Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) organised a workshop on 'Ethical Issues Related to Work on Stem Cells'. PU former Vice-Chancellor Prof Khairat Ibn-e-Rasa, AIMC Principal Prof Javed Akram, and PU Registrar Prof Dr Muhammad Naeem Khan jointly presided over the workshop. Dr Israr Ahmad, Prof Muhammad Salim Akhtar, Dr Yasmin Rashid, Muneer Ahmad Mughal and Prof Dr Sheikh Riazuddin spoke at the occasion. CEMB Director Prof Dr S Riazuddin introduced the subject matter of the workshop and highlighted the points for discussion to the speakers. University of South Asia Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Salim Akhter discussed development of potential life in utero and in vitro (test-tube) as a result of conception. He described the life of stem cells up to day 120 after fertilisation. He also explained the use of stem cells for implantation into the womb and the use of excess stem cells for research purpose. Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) President Prof Dr Yasmin Rashid presented a pictorial review of fetal development including appearance of sex and other organs in the fetus. Dr Israr Ahmed, an internationally recognised religious scholar and founder Tanzeem-e-Islami Quran Academy, delivered a lecture on the origin of life, seen through the prism of Islam. He cited Quranic verses and Hadith interpretation to conclude that killing of an embryo before 120 days was regarded as 'makru', but after 120 days, it was considered as forbidden (haram) unless it was done to save the life of the mother. He further added that use of stem cells for research was allowed in Islam but not for human cloning. Member Council of Islamic Ideology Muneer Ahmad Mughal said that research on latest technologies was in line with the teachings of Islam and research on stem cells was legitimate and permissible. Prof Khairat M Ibn-e-Rasa concluded the workshop by saying that if we did not work on new and innovative concepts, we would lag behind the world. Symposium on molecular biology Punjab University Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology (CEMB) in collaboration with Centre for Applied Molecular Biology (CAMB) will organise a four-day international symposium on 'Future Trends in Molecular Biological Research and Its Applications in Agriculture and Health' from March 25-28. The inaugural ceremony of the symposium will be held tomorrow at 11:00 am at CEMB. Representatives of various educational institutions, including Agriculture University, which is a member of the planning commission, and professionals will attend the session. The symposium will serve as a forum for life scientists in the country to discuss recent findings in genetics and molecular biology and their commercial applications. The overall aim of the symposium is to guide researchers in the fields of plant and medical molecular biology to address national problems of economic importance in the sectors of agriculture and health.