UK approves hybrid embryos

Public voices support for the controversial research technique

Stephen Pincock
Sep 4, 2007
Britain's fertility regulator has given the green light for the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for research today (September 5), after a public consultation showed that most people in the country were comfortable with scientists using the technique.Researchers think that cytoplasmic hybrids, in which human nuclei are placed into enucleated animal cells, will provide a good source of stem cells. Two groups, from Kings College London and from the University of Newcastle, applied for licences to conduct such studies in November, 2006, but their applications have been held up amid a political saga over how the technology should be regulated.In December last year, public health minister Caroline Flint released a policy document on fertility research recommending that animal-human hybrid embryos be banned when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act is updated in 2008. The following month, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) agreed to regulate the research, but decided...

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