Friday, January 5, 2007

Human/Animal Hybrid Research

To me, the thought of creating human/animal hybrids is unconscionable even with the best of scientific intentions. When reading this article I couldn't help but think of the movie "The Island of Dr. Moreau" . And anyone that saw that knows the experiments did not end of up well. What really surprised me the most about this article is that nearly 60% of the 6473 poll voters stated that they agreed that the creation of hybrid embryos be allowed? A really scary thought.


BBC NEWS Health Hybrid embryo work 'under threat'

Hybrid embryo work 'under threat' UK scientists planning to mix human and animal cells in order to research cures for degenerative diseases fear their work will be halted.

The creation of hybrid human-animal embryos was first suggested as a way of addressing the shortage of human eggs available for research.

But the HFEA says it is unresolved whether this type of controversial work is permissible under existing laws - or even whether it falls under the HFEA's jurisdiction to grant a licence.

Ministers felt the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 needed to be updated as science has moved on significantly.

Scientists are hopeful that studies on stem cells - immature cells that can become many types of tissue - could lead to greater understanding and even a cure for many diseases, including Alzheimer's.

They say using human-animal mixes rather than human eggs to get the stem cells makes sense because human eggs are in short supply, plus the process is less cumbersome and yields better results.

Professor Chris Shaw from Kings College London, along with his colleague Dr Stephen Minger, has applied for a licence for stem cell work on Motor Neurone Disease.

Dr Evan Harris MP, Liberal Democrat member of the Science and Technology Select Committee, warned there would be fierce opposition from scientists and parliamentarians to any draft bill which included such a ban.

An HFEA spokesman said: "We need to decide whether the law prohibits this research, whether it falls under our remit at all, and then we can look at whether we have a fundamental view on this type of research.

Josephine Quintavalle, of CORE ethics, said: "This is creating an animal-human hybrid and that has to be acknowledged as something that does not meet with approval.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

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