Human-animal hybrid embryo breakthrough in Britain stirs debate

April 2nd, 2008 - 6:30 pm ICT by admin  

London, April 2 (DPA) Debate on the controversial issue of embryo research was reignited Wednesday following the announcement by scientists in Britain that they had made a breakthrough in creating human-animal hybrid embryos. A team of researchers at the University of Newcastle’s Stem Cell Institute Tuesday announced the results of the research they have said could lead to the development of therapies for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease and strokes.

Embryos from eggs taken from the ovaries of cows and implanted with DNA from human skin cells using a technique called nuclear transfer had been successfully grown into half-animal, half-human embryos that survived for three days, the team said.

Their breakthrough, which is to be subjected to peer review, came in a field of science that has been rejected outright by religious leaders and pro-life groups worldwide, as among others “monstrous” and “disastrous”.

The announcement comes amid intense debate in Britain, where parliamentarians are preparing to vote on the human fertilisation and embryology bill that could pave the way for the creation of such embryos for medical research.

Britain’s religious leaders have warned against the blurring of boundaries between animals and humans, while politicians have argued about whether the work in developing hybrid embryos amounts to anything other than “creating monsters”.

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