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article imageHuman-Animal Embryos Created In Britain

By Susan Duclos     Apr 2, 2008 in Health
For the first time, at the Newcastle University in Britain, embryos have been created that contained materials from both humans and animals.
In September of 2007, it was reported that regulators has agreed in principle to allow human-animal embryos to be created and used for research and in January of 2008, British regulators granted two licenses to perform that controversial research.
The breakthrough happened just a month before the House of Commons votes on new regulatory laws regarding this research.
A team of scientists from Newcastle University made the announcement yesterday, that they had created what they call "admixed embryos". which has human DNA added into empty cow eggs, which is an experiment that is reported to be the first of its kind.
The House of Commons has a debate set for next month on their Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill to debate regulations to this type of experimentation, but as long as permission has been granted by getting a license from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the creation of the hybrid admixed embryos is already allowed.
Although it is illegal to culture human-animal embryos for more than 14 days, or to implant them in the womb of a woman or animal, and these prohibitions will remain in the new legislation.
Scientists and some patient groups support this type of scientific research for the opportunity to produce powerful stem-cell models to research about diseases such as Parkinson’s and diabetes and to develop new drugs.
The creation of these human-animal embryos is opposed by others, such as religious groups, especially the Roman Catholic Church, where one Cardinal, Keith O’Brien, who is head of the Catholic Church in Scotland, calls this type of experimental research, "experiments of Frankenstein proportion."
These cytoplasmic hybrids aka cybrids, are created by placing the nucleus from a human cell into an animal egg that has had its nucleus removed, which makes the embryos 99.9 percent human.
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