British officials are expected to announce their decision next week on whether to give researchers permission to create hybrid embryos, by taking eggs taken from dead cows and injecting them with DNA from human cells, reported The Guardian.
Scientists submitted their most recent request to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to approve the technique, which they say will help advance research into medical treatments. But religious and ethics groups are calling on government to reject it.
The UK’s Catholic bishops told the parliamentary committee, which is reviewing a draft bill that would allow partial hybrids for research purposes, that they oppose the creation of any embryo solely for research. The draft legislation under consideration is the Human Tissue and Embryo Bill.
The bishops said they did not believe the hybrid embryos should be destroyed once they are brought into existence.
“At the very least, embryos with a preponderance of human genes should be assumed to be embryonic human beings, and be treated accordingly,” they said.
Dr. Stephen Minger, senior lecturer in stem cell biology at King's College London, told The Guardian it makes more sense to use a hybrid than taking a human embryo because scientists could use eggs taken from ovaries of thousands of cows that are slaughtered every day. Minger has applied to do research with hybrid embryos.