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Government lifts ban on animal-human embryos

The Government has published a draft Bill that will allow scientists to produce hybrid embryos that are 99.9 per cent human and 0.1 per cent animal.

The draft bill allows the creation of human embryos that have been physically mixed with one or more animal cells. However, true animal-animal hybrids, made by the fusion of sperm and eggs, remain outlawed. In all cases it would be illegal to allow embryos to grow for more than 14 days or be implanted into a womb.

“Diabetes UK has made a public commitment to supporting research using human embryos, said Dr Iain Frame, Research Manager at Diabetes UK.

"However, given the pace and complexity of this area of medical research, it is also committed to reviewing its policy on this sensitive issue on a regular basis.

"What is at issue here is not the possibility that science will create new forms of hybrid creatures. The law is already very clear that embryos created for the purpose of stem cell research will be destroyed.

"Nevertheless, the question of hybrid embryos does raise ethical questions that are different in substance from those raised in previous consultations on stem cell research. The charity therefore welcomes further consultation on the question and will be consulting its stakeholders in due course.”

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