Sunday, 26 August 2007

British scientists in hybrid embryo plea

British scientists in hybrid embryo plea Sunday, 26 August 2007 Last year, British scientists applied for licence to create human-cow hybrid embryos, to isolate stem cells from the resulting blastocysts. Now, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is expected to announce its decision next week on whether to give permission to the UK laboratories to create the hybrid embryos to advance the understanding of genetic diseases. Dr Stephen Minger from King's College London is one of the researchers that has applied for a licence to do work using such hybrids. Another is Dr Lyle Armstrong, who is based at the North East England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI ) at the International Centre for Life in Newcastle. Dr. Minger said in an interview with The Observer, that: “I'm cautiously optimistic that the authority will allow us a licence. I hope we have made the case that by doing this research; we can study a number of genetic diseases far more clearly. The cell discoveries we make could then be used to develop therapies for diseases such as Alzheimer's which affect so many people, but for which we now have almost no therapy to offer.” To do this work they would need a large number of embryos to make stem cells, far more than could be achieved by asking women to donate their eggs for research. Instead of using human eggs and sperm for these experiments, Dr. Minger thinks it makes far more sense to use cow eggs, since these can be taken from ovaries of thousands of cows that are slaughtered every day anyway. To do this work they would need a large number of embryos to make stem cells, far more than could be achieved by asking women to donate their eggs for research. The British government this spring shifted its position on animal-human hybrid embryos: having been initially against the concept, it is now proposing to allow partial hybrids, where a complete set of human genes is inserted into an animal's egg cell, for research purposes only, through a new Human Tissue and Embryo Bill aimed at overhauling the laws surrounding fertility treatment. The move has prompted strong protests from some religious and anti-abortion groups that oppose any such research. ......... ZenMaster


For more on stem cells and cloning, go to CellNEWS at http://www.geocities.com/giantfideli/index.html

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