19 May 2008

Someone Call Will Smith: UK Scientists Get Green Light For Half Animal / Half Human Embryo Study

The Man Beast embryos created would have to be destroyed after 14 days, but scientists hope stem cells can be harvested and used to create brain, skin, heart and other tissue for treating diseases.

All the main parties have allowed Members of Parliament a free vote on the creation of the "admixed" embryos and on the next issue to be debated tonight - the creation of so-called "saviour siblings" whose genetic material could help sick relatives.

Allowing the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos would make the UK a scientific "rogue state", Parliament Members have been warned as a fierce debate opened on highly-controversial new laws.

Concerns about the creation of "true hybrids" have been raised, warning that the scientific community had expressed "serious reservations" about hybrids that weren't always at the "human end of the spectrum, with some saying its a step too far and that in many ways we are like children playing with landmines without any concept of the dangers of the technology that we are handling.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo said the shortage of human eggs presented a "significant barrier" to embryonic stem cell research and experts believe hybrid embryos were a "pragmatic" solution to the problem.

Tory leader David Cameron confirmed earlier today that he backed proposals for the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for medical research as well as so-called "saviour siblings" selected by parents in order to provide tissue material for seriously ill children.

Yesterday, the Prime Minister also voiced his support, hailing new ground-breaking techniques as "an inherently moral endeavour" which could save millions of lives.

MPs back creation of human-animal embryos {Times Online}
MPs vote against ban on hybrid embryos {independent.co.uk}
MPs Allow 'Frankenstein' Embryos {Sky News}

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