British researchers want permission to create a hybrid between human and cow, in order to accelerate stem cell research. Because stem cell research lacks enough human eggs, Newcastle University and Kings College scientists want approval to implant human DNA in cow eggs, leading to a human-cow hybrid.
The London scientists filed for the approval of such a procedure to the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.
The cow eggs, stripped of their nuclei, would host human DNA and let a chimera, or hybrid between the species, develop, only for the prelevation of stem cells.
Calum MacKellar, from the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics, does however have doubts: "In this kind of procedure, you are mixing at a very intimate level animal eggs and human chromosomes, and you may begin to undermine the whole distinction between humans and animals."
The researchers opted for this solution, as it is incredibly difficult to harvest and work with donated human eggs, in the research of stem cells.
Dr Stephen Minger, King's College: "We feel that the development of disease-specific human embryonic stem cell lines from individuals suffering from genetic forms of neurodegenerative disorders will stimulate both basic research and the development of new medicines to treat these horrific brain diseases."
Stem cells are primal cells that retain the ability to renew themselves through cell division and can differentiate into a wide range of specialized cell types. The two categories of stem cells include embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. In embryos, stem cells differentiate into all of the specialized embryonic tissues, while in adult organisms, stem cells and progenitor cells act as a repair system for the body, replenishing specialized cells.
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