British biologists have received government approval to create the world's first human stem cells from hybrid embryos, part pig, part human. The Warwick Medical School team, led by linkurl:Justin St. John;http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/med/staff/stjohn of the Clinical Sciences Research Institute, was granted the country's third animal-human embryo license from the linkurl:Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority,;http://www.hfea.gov.uk/ which goes into effect today (July 1). The team plans to use a new technique that, if it works, could provide a well of human embryonic stem cells without the use of human embryos. They will fuse human adult skin cells into empty pig eggs, resulting in embryos with mostly human DNA and some pig mitochondrial DNA. Then, stem cells taken from the embryos will be chemically treated to destroy the pig DNA, which could impair cell function when interacting with human mitochondrial DNA. The team plans to use skin cells from patients with mutations for heart disease,...
Interested in reading more?
Become a Member of
Receive full access to more than 35 years of archives, as well as TS Digest, digital editions of The Scientist, feature stories, and much more!