The United Kingdom's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority says it will begin considering license applications from scientists who want to combine human cells with animal eggs in order to create new stem cells for research in curing debilitating diseases. Though it is still a far cry from Bush's infamous speech, I'm still dreaming an army of hybrids led by Marlon Brando in "white face" to come marching out of the labs, Val Kilmer and Fairuza Balk. An article outlining the reactions of various groups in the U.K. is available from The Independent.
If the only thing you can think about now is Fairuza Balk, then maybe you should track down Crispin Glover's "What is It?"
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority is the UK's independent regulator overseeing the use of gametes and embryos in fertility treatment and research. The HFEA licences centres carrying out In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF), other assisted conception procedures and human embryo research, and provides a range of detailed information for patients, professionals, the public and Government.
Read about the HFEA's public consultation on the use of human-animal embryos. Read about current licensed projects for this research. 25/3/2008
Hybrids and Chimeras
The Authority made a decision about the policy for licensing of human-animal hybrid research at its open Authority meeting of 5 September. This followed a detailed public consultation on the issues.
* A summary of
the Authority's decsion
can be found in the final
About the Consultation
The HFEA recently held a consultation on the ethical and social implications of creating human/animal embryos in research.
Hybrids and Chimeras Consultation document
Hybrids and Chimeras (888 Kb)
Researchers around the world are using stem cells from human embryos in research to develop their understanding of a number of different diseases. Many scientists now believe that embryonic stem cells may also, in future, lead to new therapies.
In November 2006, the HFEA received applications from two different research teams for a licence to derive stem cells from human embryos, created from animal eggs instead of human eggs.
If this research is permitted, it will be the first time that scientists in the UK have created embryos in a research project which contain both human and animal DNA.
This consultation aims to explore public opinion on the broad range of hybrid and chimera research.
Since the consultation document was printed, the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee has published the report of its inquiry into hybrid and chimera research. Read more about their inquiry and report.
During May twelve deliberative groups were held across the UK to help the HFEA to explore and understand public perceptions, motivations and attitudes to hybrid research. Half the participants of these groups were subsequently invited to attend a day long event, held in the first week of June. A short video this event can be viewed below:
In early July, an opinion poll will be carried out to further explore public opinion on this issue.
On Tuesday 26th June the HFEA held a public event to discuss the issues raised through the Hybrids and Chimeras consultation.
The event was chaired by TV's Nick Ross and a panel made up of:
Some of the key issues raised were;
You can listen to the debate by downloading the following audio mp3 files:
Report coverThe findings of the consultation and the decision made by the Authority on 5 September 2007 are summarised in the following report:
Hybrids Policy -Final Report (895 Kb) October 2008
If you have any questions about the consultation please contact:
Tel: 020 7291 8238
This project is part funded by Sciencewise.
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