Genetics

02 April 2008

Human-animal embryo breakthrough

In a breakthrough that may help pave the way to a variety of cures, British scientists have managed to create human-animal hybrid embryos that survived for three days.

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In a breakthrough that may help pave the way to a variety of cures, British scientists have managed to create human-animal hybrid embryos that survived for three days.

The team of researchers at the University of Newcastle's Stem Cell Institute on Tuesday announced the results of the research they have said could lead to the development of therapies for conditions such as Parkinson's Disease and strokes.

Embryos from eggs taken from the ovaries of cows and implanted with DNA from human skin cells using a technique called nuclear transfer had been successfully grown into 0.01%-animal, 99.9%-human embryos that survived for three days, the team said.

This is a crucial step toward using hybrid embryos to produce stem cell lines that can be used in cutting-edge new research. It is thought that the use of human-animal embryos could eliminate the need for human eggs for producing stem cell lines.

Not yet peer-reviewed
The breakthrough, which is still to be subjected to peer review, came in a field of science that has been rejected outright by some religious leaders and pro-life groups, as among others "monstrous" and "disastrous."

The announcement comes amid intense debate in Britain, where parliamentarians are preparing to vote on the country's Human Fertilization and Embryology Bill that could pave the way for the creation of more such embryos for medical research.

According to the bill, however, embryos will not be allowed to exist for more than just a few days. Suggestions that approving the bill would lead to the creation of half-animal, half-human monsters are thus misleading. – (Sapa-dpa/Health24)

Read more:
Embryology bill debate heats up
1 embryo from 3 parents

April 2008

 

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