Britain may relax rules on human hybrids

October 10, 2007

The British health minister has given scientists permission to create embryos that mix human and animal genetic material.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo has submitted a revised bill that also liberalizes rules on "savior siblings," children created partly to help a child with a disease, The Daily Mail reported. In the past, that was allowed only when children had a potentially fatal disease but can now be done for children with a serious disease.

Scientists believe "chimaeras," embryos mixing human and animal DNA, may provide treatment for cancer, Parkinson's disease and other serious conditions, the British newspaper said. Researchers say embryos would be destroyed within 14 days of creation and will not be allowed to develop into living beings.

The Human Tissue and Embryo Bill has gone through a number of changes during the past few months, under pressure from scientists, the Mail said.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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