Friday, January 13, 2006

Scientists set to create human-rabbit hybrid

From the Scotsman:
"British scientists are planning to create human-rabbit hybrid embryos to speed up research into the causes of inherited conditions such as motor neurone disease and Parkinson's.

The controversial work, which involves placing the nucleus of a human cell inside a rabbit egg, is rejected as immoral by churches and anti-cloning campaigners. One of the key ethical problems is whether the hybrid embryo should be treated legally as a human or an animal."
It seems this quest to make a human bunny has exposed a grey area in the law...
"The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act, which sets out the rules for conducting research on human eggs, sperm and embryos, is being reviewed by the government. Dr Chris O'Toole, head of research regulation at the HFEA, said: "The issue of mixing human and animal material is complex."
Complex, certainly - also a bit mental, if you ask me. However, Dr Ainsley Newson, a medical ethicist, is relaxed about it:
"'Obviously we need to be careful about species boundaries, but we are not talking about creating a hybrid animal,' she said."

Hmmm, well not yet anyway...

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