UK hybrid loophole exposed

Regulator seeks government clarification on licensing human-animal hybrid experiments

Stephen Pincock(Stephen@thescientisteurope.com)
Jun 1, 2004

The United Kingdom's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has asked the government to clarify what the authority's role is in regulating experiments involving human–animal hybrids, an area of research that currently slips through a loophole in British law.

The HFEA works within a legal remit that limits its power to regulate some experiments in which human and animal materials are fused. The agency wants the anomaly cleared up when the 1990 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act is reviewed, an HFEA spokeswoman told The Scientist. "We've asked the government to consider this part of the legislation again," she said. "What we need is clarification of where everybody stands and what HFEA should and shouldn't be licensing."

The gap in the act was highlighted in a story in Monday's (May 31) edition of The Times newspaper, which said that Suzi Leather, chair of the HFEA, had confirmed that an animal–human...

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