Human-Animal Embryos Move Nearer to Reality; About-Turn by Ministers Opens Door to 'Chimeras' for Medical Research

Daily Mail (London), May 18, 2007 | Go to article overview

Human-Animal Embryos Move Nearer to Reality; About-Turn by Ministers Opens Door to 'Chimeras' for Medical Research


Byline: JENNY HOPE

SCIENTISTS are a step closer to creating human-animal chimera embryos after the Government performed a U-turn over banning the controversial research.

The use of hybrid embryos - which combine human DNA with animal eggs - should now be accepted, according to a draft fertility Bill published yesterday.

It replaces initial proposals put forward in December to ban the creation of chimeras, bringing a backlash from scientists. They claimed a ban would jeopardise lifesaving stem cell research that offers hope for new treatments to combat incurable conditions such as Alzheimer's and motor neurone disease.

Opponents last night said the ' terrifying' prospect of human-animal hybrids would trigger revulsion and widespread ethical concern.

Although ministers have accepted, in principle, the creation of chimeras - human embryos that have been physically mixed with one or more animal cells - there is another hurdle to cross.

Details of the Human Tissue and Embryos Bill will be examined by a Parliamentary scrutiny committee before it is finalised in the autumn.

However, the committee is chaired by Phil Willis, head of the Commons Science and Technology Committee, which is strongly in favour.

Under the proposals, hybrid embryos which would be 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent animal will be allowed only for research into serious diseases and scientists will need a licence. True human-animal hybrids, creatures 'bred' by the fusion of sperm and eggs, remain outlawed.

In all cases it would be illegal to allow embryos to grow for more than 14 days or for them to be implanted into a womb.

Scientists claim the work is vital because of a lack of human eggs to provide stem cells. Inter- species embryos made using eggs from rabbits or cows and genetic material from human donors could provide a plentiful supply.

Two teams of British scientists from London and Newcastle have already sought permission to create human-animal hybrids but their applications have been put on hold by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority which regulates embryo research.

The Bill also makes provision for considering whether a 'three-parent' embryo can be born, resulting from sperm fertilising an egg where faulty DNA has been replaced by material from a donor.

Public health minister Caroline Flint denied the change of policy was a 'back flip' with the Government caving in to pressure from scientists.

She said the original intention had been to allow case-by- case experiments, but months of discussion had clarified the issues.

She said: 'Our position was not to stop this research but to be clear that it is sensitive research, and we have to be sure about what we're going to permit to happen in the future.

'We did need the scientific community to step up to the plate and make clear what their needs were.' However, campaigners remain unconvinced. Josephine Quintavalle, of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: 'It is appalling that the Government has bowed to pressure from the random collection of self-interested scientists and changed its prohibitive stance.

'This is a highly controversial and terrifying proposal which has little justification in science and even less in ethics. Endorsement by the UK will elicit horror in Europe and right across the world.' Only Canada has so far passed legislation specifically approving the creation of human-animal hybrids for research.

Dr David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, which is strongly opposed to the creation of humananimalhybrids, said: 'Do not be fooled by the claim that this is "just research". Once we start down the path to GM babies, it will become very hard to turn back. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Human-Animal Embryos Move Nearer to Reality; About-Turn by Ministers Opens Door to 'Chimeras' for Medical Research
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.