Newcastle University creates first cow-human embryos in Europe

 Scientists at Newcastle University have created embryos from cow eggs and DNA extracted from human skin cells, the BBC reported last night. The embryos survived for three days. They were created by injecting DNA derived from human skin cells into eggs taken from cows ovaries which have had virtually all their genetic material removed. Newcastle University researchers told the BBC they used cow ovaries because human eggs from donors are a precious resource and in short supply. The hybrid embryos are purely for research and would never be allowed to develop beyond 14 days when they are still smaller than a pinhead, they said. The research in Newcastle was approved by the UK's fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. The advance comes a month before MPs are to debate the future of such research, which has been condemned by religious leaders. Professor John Burn, a spokesman for Newcastle University, said: "The purpose of the experiments is to study the way the use of genes alters early in development, so the primary aim of research is basic understanding, not generating stem cells." Josephine Quintavalle from Comment on Reproductive Ethics, said: 'This is lamentable headline grabbing not proper scientific behaviour. It does Newcastle University no credit whatsoever. The most significant line in the report is that the animal-human embryos didn't survive.' Source: BBC/CORE

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