Today's Coming Crisis Movie

Saturday, July 23, 2011

UK scientists call for new agency to oversee experiments mixing human and animal cells -- Wait, what?

British scientists say a new expert body should be formed to regulate experiments mixing animal and human DNA to make sure no medical or ethical boundaries are crossed.

In a report issued on Friday, scientists at the nation’s Academy of Medical Sciences said a government organization is needed to advise whether certain tests on animals that use human DNA should be pursued.

Tighter regulation isn’t needed for most such experiments, said Martin Bobrow, chair of the group that wrote the report. “But there are a small number of future experiments, which could approach social and ethically sensitive areas which should have an extra layer of scrutiny,” he told reporters in London.

The group analyzed evidence from academics, the U.K. government, animal welfare groups and others. An independent survey was also conducted to gather public opinion. It found people were mostly supportive as long as the work might contribute to the development of medical treatments that would be widely available.

Scientists have long been swapping animal and human DNA. Numerous tests on mice with human genes for brain, bone and heart disorders are already under way and experiments on goats implanted with a human gene are also being done to study blood-clotting problems.

Controversy erupted several years ago in Britain after scientists announced plans to make human embryos with the nucleus removed from cow and rabbit eggs. Authorities allowed limited experiments and ruled the embryos should not be allowed to develop for more than two weeks. (more)