Britain's Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) said on Wednesday (August 11) that it had granted the country's first license to create human embryonic stem cells using cell nuclear replacement.

"We're absolutely thrilled," said Alison Murdoch, a member of the Newcastle Human Embryonic Stem Cell Group that was granted the license. "The potential this area of research offers is immensely exciting, and we are keen to take the work we've done so far to the next level."

Three months after the Newcastle group first announced its application, the HFEA's Licence Committee granted just a 1-year license, allowing researchers to create stem cells from human ova for research purposes only.

"This is an important area of research and a responsible use of technology," said HFEA chief Suzi Leather. "The HFEA is there to make sure any research involving human embryos is scrutinized and properly regulated."

The fact that the license is...

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