The US District Court has granted a preliminary injunction to stop federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research.

The move will come as a shock to the Obama administration, who could appeal the decision or try to rewrite guidelines to comply with US law.

The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, banning the use of federal funds to destroy human embryos, is added to budget legislation every year by Congress and could prove crucial to the case.

As one of President Obama’s first acts of office, he overturned the decision, allowing the National Institutes of Health to pursue research using destroyed embryos as well as those that are manufactured.