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Tuesday, February 27, 2007

"Paging Dr. Moreau..."

From London's The Times:
    Scientists triumph in battle over ban on hybrid embryos Plans to outlaw the creation of human-animal hybrid embryos for potentially life-saving stem cell research are to be dropped after a revolt by scientists. The proposed government ban on fusing human DNA with animal eggs, which promises insights into incurable conditions such as Alzheimer's and motor neuron disease, will be abandoned because of concerns among senior ministers that it will damage British science. While ministers will not endorse the research in full yet, they are no longer seeking legislation to prohibit it, The Times has learnt. The Government will instead provide the fertility watchdog with funds for a public debate on the subject before new laws are drafted. ... ... Scientists are keen to use animal eggs to create cloned human embryos as laboratory models for studying disease. DNA from a patient with a condition such as motor neuron disease would be inserted into the shell of a rabbit or cow egg from which the nucleus has been removed. The embryo would be 99.9 per cent human, and would carry genetic errors implicated in the disease in question. It would then be split up to create stem cells, for studying the condition’s progress and testing new drugs.
It's always frightening when fact begins to imitate fiction.

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