July 6, 2022

First hybrid clones created in UK

It’s all legal, say scientists
Scientists
at Newcastle University have created the first cloned human-animal
hybrids in the UK. The news is bound to create an uproar in Britain,
which is the middle of a passionate debate over updating fertility
legislation. Legalising hybrid embryos is the proposal that has
generated the most debate. Researchers stress that their work is
breaking no laws and that the UK’s fertility watchdog had
authorised their work. The eggs for this project came from
slaughtered cows and the human genetic material from a stem cell line
at the University.

Although
the news only reached the media yesterday, the leading scientist in
the hybrid project, Lyle Armstrong, had presented findings at a
conference in Israel last week. He said that the hybrid embryo was
99.9% human and 0.1% cow. It grew for three days until it had 32
cells. Eventually he hopes to grow similar embryos for 6 days before
extracting their stem cells. In any case, the University insisted,
there was no chance of these hybrid cells developing into humans, as
UK law stipulates that research embryos must be destroyed within 14
days.

John
Burn, head of the Institute of Human Genetics at Newcastle
University, told
the BBC’s Six O’Clock News
: "If
you look down the microscope it looks like semolina and it stays like
that. It’s never going to be anything other than a pile of cells.
What it does is give us the tools to find out the simple questions:
how can we better understand the disease processes by working with
those cells in the body?" ~ Guardian,
Apr 2