Intended for healthcare professionals


UK regulatory body wants public consultation on human-animal hybrid research

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 18 January 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:112
  1. Susan Mayor
  1. 1London

    The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), the independent regulator of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment and embryo research in the United Kingdom, has called for a public debate before deciding whether to grant licences for research involving hybrids of human and animal cells.

    The authority recommended further public discussion after it met last week to discuss the broad principles for handling any research proposals involving animal-human hybrids or chimeras (organisms or organs consisting of two or more tissues of different genetic composition). It has already received two applications from groups wanting to carry out research using human cells and animal eggs to produce stem cells.

    After discussion the authority decided that these techniques were not prohibited by current law and would potentially fall within its remit to regulate and license. However, it delayed making a final decision until after public consultation.

    Angela McNab, the authority's chief executive, said: “The issues around hybrid and chimera research are unique and different from mainstream human embryo research. After weighing up the scientific, legal, and ethical …

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