Petr Kropotkin proposed the theory of Pleistocene ice age, alternative theories of evolution based on embryology, and he advocated anarchist and communist social doctrines in Europe during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He traveled in eastern Siberia and Manchuria from 1863 until 1867, and his subsequent publications about that area's geography became authoritative until the middle of the twentieth century. Kropotkin argued that his geographic and geologic observations in Asia, Finland, Sweden, and Canada, supported the theory of Pleistocene continental glaciation, often called the ice age. He was one of the first to study the ancient geography and climate of the Quaternary period, which spans from 2.5 million years ago until the present. Around the turn of the nineteenth century, Kropotkin offered what he said were complementary amendments to Charles Darwin's 1859 theory of evolution by natural selection. Kropotkin employed a variety of arguments from natural history, embryology, and geography to support his theory of mutual aid, which he argued was a positive mechanistic addition to the theory of evolution.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 established the legal framework that governs infertility treatment, medical services ancillary to infertility treatment such as embryo storage, and all human embryological research performed in the UK. The law also defines a legal concept of the parent of a child conceived with assisted reproductive technologies. Section Five of the Act establishes the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, the first of its kind in the world, to enforce and regulate the responsibilities that scientists, doctors, and prospective parents have towards embryos and to each other. Upon introducing the act to the House of Commons, the Secretary of State for Health of the time, Kenneth Clarke, said the bill was in his opinion the most important piece of legislation considered by the government in two decades.