Robert Geoffrey Edwards was fiercely proud of his Yorkshire origin. After a faltering start to his academic career, he developed an extraordinary aptitude for original research, which he pursued with energy, enthusiasm and dedication that very few could match. He pioneered the most significant advance in the history of treating human infertility, established proof of principle for preimplantation diagnosis of genetic disease, and was the first to advocate the use of spare embryos as a source of stem cells for regenerative medicine. He not only promoted a better understanding of early human development, but he also provided invaluable insight into the many ethical issues raised by such work. Moreover, he played a key role in establishing both an international learned society and serving as editor of several journals devoted to the study of human reproduction and embryology.
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Published by the Royal Society