Feeds

Government clears road for human hybrid embryos

Spiderman, anyone?

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
New hybrid storage solutions
Tackling data challenges through emerging hybrid storage solutions that enable optimum database performance whilst managing costs and increasingly large data stores.
Website security in corporate America
Find out how you rank among other IT managers testing your website's vulnerabilities.