Saturday, May 19, 2007

British policy would allow human-animal hybrid embryos

~from CWN

Under pressure from research scientists, the British government has backed away from a plan to outlaw the creation of hybrid embryos-- part human, part animal-- to be used from stem-cell research.

A draft version of the Human Tissue and Embryos bill would allow the creation of "cytoplasmic" embryos, combining human genetic material with eggs from other mammal. Original plans for the legislation would have outlawed that practice. But health minister Caroline Flint said the new draft reflected "an evaluation of a number of different viewpoints."

Scientists claimed that the cytoplasmic embryos would produce a plentiful supply of stem cells, which could be used in research aimed at providing cures for a number of human diseases. To date, the government has not authorized the production of these embryos.

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