British regulators have authorized stem cell researchers in that country to go ahead to combine human nuclear DNA with animal eggs to produce chimeric embryos from which to extract stem cells. The BBC reports:
Scientists want to create hybrid embryos by merging human cells with animal eggs in a bid to extract stem cells. The embryos would then be destroyed within 14 days.
The cells form the basic building blocks of the body and have the potential to become any tissue, making them essential for research.
At the moment, scientists have to rely on human eggs left over from fertility treatment, but they are in short supply and are not always good quality.
Critics say they are repulsed by the idea and there must be no creation of an animal-human hybrid.
They say it is tampering with nature and is unethical. Some believe the research is also scientifically unnecessary.
It is already illegal to implant human-animal embryos in the womb or bring them to term.
The BBC quotes opponents of the research:
John Smeaton, national director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), said: "The HFEA decision represents a disastrous setback for human dignity in Britain.
"The deliberate blurring of the boundaries between humans and other species is wrong and strikes at the heart of what makes us human."
This mirrors the Vatican's condemnation of the research last year which called it a "monstrous act directed against human dignity."
Biologist-manque (and disbeliever in biological evolution) Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) wants to outlaw such research here.
As I noted before, the Vatican's statement brings up the question: If the presence of 13 animal genes (in animal egg mitochondria) is not enough to block the installation of a human soul, how many would be?
Whole BBC article here.