Brits to Allow Human/Animal Combo Embryos


Last year the British government proposed outlawing research on chimeric embryos created using animal eggs and human genes. British scientists objected and it now looks as though the Labour government is going to back down from its ban.

Meanwhile Republican presidential hopeful, Sen. Sam Brownback (Kan.), has introduced legislation that would ban such research in the United States. I explain why Brownback's Human Chimera Prohibition Act is scientific know-nothingness here and I conclude:

This quick review shows that current experiments using chimeric animals and embryos do not threaten our "respect for human dignity and the integrity of the human species." Ultimately, the Human Chimera Prohibition Act is a misbegotten legislative blunderbuss that would criminalize much valuable research aimed at curing human diseases. We can afford to wait until we hear that a Harvard or Stanford institutional review board has approved an experiment to produce a humanzee before Congress needs to act.

Despite the good news that the UK ban is being lifted, opposition still exists. The Beeb reports:

But Josephine Quintavalle, of the campaign group Comment on Reproductive Ethics, disagreed, saying: "It is appalling that the government has bowed to pressure from the random collection of self-interested scientists and change its prohibitive stance.

"This is a highly controversial and terrifying proposal, which has little justification in science and even less in ethics.

"Endorsement by the UK government will elicit horror in Europe and right across the wider world."

Whole BBC article here.