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Cow-Human Cell News Raises Ethical Issues

Per the request of President Bill Clinton, the members of the presidentially appointed National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) met on Nov. 17 to discuss the bioethical, medical, and legal ramifications of the apparent first-ever creation of bovine-human hybrid cells, embryonic cells consisting of a human cell's nucleus inside a cow egg. In a Nov. 14 letter to the NBAC, the president said that he was "deeply troubled by this news of experiments involving the mingling of human and nonhuman

Eugene Russo

Per the request of President Bill Clinton, the members of the presidentially appointed National Bioethics Advisory Commission (NBAC) met on Nov. 17 to discuss the bioethical, medical, and legal ramifications of the apparent first-ever creation of bovine-human hybrid cells, embryonic cells consisting of a human cell's nucleus inside a cow egg. In a Nov. 14 letter to the NBAC, the president said that he was "deeply troubled by this news of experiments involving the mingling of human and nonhuman species."

Media attention over the research was such that the as-yet-unpublished findings from scientists at the Worcester, Mass., company Advanced Cell Technologies overshadowed the intended primary purpose of the NBAC meeting: the presentation of suggested new regulations for research involving human subjects with mental disorders. At week's end, the commission, headed by NBAC chairman and Princeton University president Harold T. Shapiro, sent a letter to the president that included tentative,...

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