From ABC, 18 Jan. 08
UK CLEARS WAY FOR HUMAN-ANIMAL HYBRID EMBRYOS
Britain's fertility regulator has given initial approval to research involving the production of human and animal hybrid embryos.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has approved applications from King's College in London and Newcastle University to create cytoplasmic embryos, which merge human cells with eggs from other animals.
The research will mean the production of human embryos with traces of animal DNA.
Scientists hope the process might help them find cures for brain disorders and other diseases.
But Dr Helen Watts from the Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics, the UK's Christian bioethics institute, says the scientists are entering dangerous territory.
"We don't know what kind of entity this will produce - if it produces a human embryo we have a serious ethical problem, because that embryo will have a non-human partial mother," she said.
"Even if it's not a genuine human embryo that's produced, it's still morally offensive.
"I think it's a mistake we often make in this country, to think if you just destroy the entity which you create it's okay to create it."
The authority has issued one-year research licences, subject to a series of conditions.