Britain could become the first country where scientists successfully create a human-animal hybrid, thanks to a legal loophole allowing such experiments.
The wording of the government embryology watchdog's legal mandate means it has no power to regulate experiments in which human and animal material are fused to create new cells, the Times of London reported Tuesday.
In other words, ethically contentious studies similar to some conducted by Panayiotis Zavos, a maverick scientist seeking to clone a human, could be done in Britain without a licence from the Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority.
Although human reproductive cloning violates British law, there would be nothing to stop a researcher from adding human DNA to cow eggs -- as Zavos has done to test his cloning technique.
The situation has prompted calls for a revision of the 1990 Hu! Man Ferti lization and Embryology Act, which does not cover such work as it had barely been envisioned when it was framed.
"Things like this illustrate that things move on much faster than the regulatory system can often accommodate," said Ian Gibson, the Labor chairman of the Commons Science and Technology Committee. A spokeswoman for the authority said that the watchdog would also support a review.
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Nanoparticles Illuminate Brain Tumors For Days Under MRI
Portland OR (SPX) May 26, 2004
A research team from Oregon Health & Science University and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center is demonstrating some of the world's first clinical applications for nanometer-size particles in the brain.
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