Leonardo"s Notebook by Mattheus Mei

I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

British Government approves human-animal embryos

In a move that Sky news says is worthy of Dr. Frankenstein, Gordon Brown mustered a sizable majority coalition to overcome amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill that would have outlawed the creation of “human admixed embryos” for medical research by a majority of 160 votes as well as pure hybrid embryos (50/50) by a smaller margin of 63 according to the Times UK.

From Sky News:
Scientists will now be allowed to insert the nuclei of human cells into animal eggs, creating hybrid embryos which grow for up to 14 days. As a result, stem cells can be harvested and used to create brain, skin, heart and other tissue for treating diseases - before the embryos are destroyed.

These admixed embryos are called Chimeras after the mythical creature that Homer in his illiad described as "a thing of immortal make, not human, lion-fronted and snake behind, a goat in the middle, and snorting out the breath of the terrible flame of bright fire..." Such a name is appropriate to more than a few bioethicists and even me. Even more strange and bizarre than the bills passage is the notion that the leader of the conservative party - the Tories, David Cameron supported these measures of admixture. Even more peculiar is though this bill passed a measure to give lesbians the right to IVF did not is expected to fail, while a further restriction on abortion looks to pass. Bizarre to say the least!! I'm sure the is going to cause a huge fuss in religious and more socially conservative circles.

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