Feeds

Government clears road for human hybrid embryos

Spiderman, anyone?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

The UK government has nixed a proposed ban on the creation of human-animal hybrids, clearing the way for embryologists to create hybrid embryos for stem cell research.

It has instead proposed a draft bill - the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill - that would allow the creation of embryos composed of 99.9 per cent human, 0.1 per cent animal DNA.

Health Minister Caroline Flint says the move is not a "climbdown". She argues that the White Paper that called for a ban on such hybrids was only calling for a "general prohibition", and had always left open the possibility of research to be sanctioned on a case-by-case basis.

According to reports, Flint said: "I honestly don't see this as a back flip...it was an evaluation of a number of different view points. Our position was not to stop this research but to be clear that it's sensitive research, and we have to be sure about what we're going to permit to happen in the future."

The bill still prohibits "true" animal human hybrids - fertilised eggs created by the fusion of sperm and eggs from different species. But it allows for chimeras - the introduction of animal DNA into a human embryo, as well as the creation of cytoplasmic hybrid embryos.

But by removing the outright ban, the bill will free stem-cell research from its dependence on donated human eggs. Researchers hope that with access to a more plentiful supply of research embryos, they will be able to refine therapeutic cloning techniques before working on the more difficult to obtain, purely human embryos.

Last November, researchers applied for permission to implant human DNA into cows eggs, effectively creating a human-bovine hybrid. The resulting embryo would then be grown for a few days, before the stem cells would be harvested and the embryo destroyed.

Under the terms of the bill, all hybrid embryos would have to be destroyed after a maximum of 14 days, and it would be illegal to implant them into the womb. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.