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MPs back hybrid embryo research


GreyWeather

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Legislation to widen the scope of medical research has cleared its first hurdle as a bid to ban hybrid human animal embryos was defeated by MPs.

Tory MP Edward Leigh's attempt to outlaw the creation of hybrid embryos was voted down by 336 votes to 176.

He argued the technique was "a step too far". Catholic cabinet ministers Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy voted for a ban. PM Gordon Brown opposed it.

MPs are set to vote on whether to allow "saviour siblings" at about 2230 BST.

These are the first in a series of critical votes on emotive issues in committee stage debate of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, aimed at updating laws from 1990 in line with scientific advances.

'Useless'

Mr Leigh, who led the fight against the creation of hybrid "admixed" embryos, said it was "ethically wrong and almost certainly medically useless".

He said there was "no evidence yet to substantiate" claims the work could lead to treatment for degenerative diseases like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

BILL'S KEY VOTES

Use of hybrid embryos - Monday

'Saviour siblings' - Monday

Role of fathers in IVF - Tuesday

Abortion limits - Tuesday

MPs face big issues

Research 'gives me hope'

Q&A: Hybrid embryos

The bill would allow regulated research using hybrid or "admix" embryos, where the nuclei of human cells are inserted into animal eggs. The resulting embryos would be kept for up to 14 days to harvest stem cells.

Health Minister Dawn Primarolo says any research done using human embryos "must satisfy the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority that it was necessary or desirable".

No human "admix" embryo would be implanted into a woman or animal, she says.

But Mr Leigh said: "We do not believe that regulation is enough. We believe this is a step too far and therefore should be banned.

"In embryos, we do have the genetic make up of a complete human being and we could not and should not be spliced together with the animal kingdom."

How hybrid embryos might be created

And ex-Labour minister Sir Gerald Kaufman, agreed, adding: "How far do you go? Where do you stop? What are the limits and what are the boundaries?

"If you permit the creation of hybrid embryos now, what will you seek to permit next time, even if you have no idea where it will lead?"

MPs comment on embryo bill defeat

Labour's Chris Bryant, a former Anglican curate, said Mr Leigh's arguments were like those used by church leaders against the smallpox vaccine.

"They were wrong and I think you are wrong today," he said.

Liberal Democrat Evan Harris criticised those who argued hybrid embryos were too human.

"If it's ethically acceptable to use up and destroy fully human embryos with all the potential they have, how is it right to provide for hybrid embryos, with less potential of viability, greater protection?" he said.

A separate attempt to ban "pure" hybrid embryos, that would mix a human egg with animal sperm or vice versa, was also defeated in the Commons by 286 votes to 223, a government majority of 63.

MPs are being given a free vote on four controversial parts of the bill after warnings that some Catholic MPs and cabinet ministers were ready to rebel.

The other three areas are:

* Saviour siblings: These are babies born from embryos selected because they are a tissue match for a sick older brother or sister with a genetic condition. Debate on Monday, with vote at about 2230 BST.

* Role of fathers in fertility treatment: Would end the requirement for IVF clinics to consider the "welfare" of any child created in terms of need for a father. Debate from 1530 BST Tuesday, with vote at about 1830 BST.

* The upper limit for abortion: Amendments have been put down to the bill to cut from 24 weeks the time limit for abortions. Debate on Tuesday from 1830 BST, with votes at about 2200 BST.

The Roman Catholic Church has branded the use of hybrid embryos as "monstrous" and says tinkering with life in this way is immoral.

Catholic bishops in Britain and the Irish Republic have given £25,000 to scientists using adult stem cells, which is less controversial than using immature ones.

Such cells can be used to create brain, skin, heart and other tissue for treating diseases.

But Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, chief executive of the Medical Research Council, said the result would keep the UK at the forefront of embryo research.

Conservative leader David Cameron, along with Mr Brown, has backed the use of hybrid embryos as a means to develop treatments for cancer and conditions such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. They also both support the creation of "saviour siblings".

Scientists at Newcastle University announced last month that they had created the first part-human, part-animal hybrid embryos in the UK.

They were created by injecting DNA derived from human skin cells into eggs taken from cows' ovaries which had had virtually all their genetic material removed.

Researchers say these human-animal "admixed" embryos could help solve the current problem of the lack of human eggs from which to generate embryos.

Source

I know it's frowned upon to copy-paste entire articles. But, I feel this is and can be a great step forward in scientific advancement. Now, I hate Gordon Brown, but I respect the guy a little now, for backing science and not a fairy-tale book.

Also, can someone explain why catholics and the church of England have power in a continent that seperates church from the state? Or am I missing something here.

I hope these fundies don't get their way, it'll be a dark day if they do.

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''I know it's frowned upon to copy-paste entire articles. But, I feel this is and can be a great step forward in scientific advancement. Now, I hate Gordon Brown, but I respect the guy a little now, for backing science and not a fairy-tale book.''

You do know that his son was born with cystic fibrosis. I suspect his reasons for his u-turn on this research is a little less altruistic than you may think. He has a vested interest.

:-http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6158479.stm

Edited by itsnotoutthere
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''I know it's frowned upon to copy-paste entire articles. But, I feel this is and can be a great step forward in scientific advancement. Now, I hate Gordon Brown, but I respect the guy a little now, for backing science and not a fairy-tale book.''

You do know that his son was born with cystic fibrosis. I suspect his reasons for his u-turn on this research is a little less altruistic than you may think. He has a vested interest.

:-http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6158479.stm

Yeah I know.

Hence why I respect his decision. He could have gone all fundie and state his son is that way because god made him that way. Instead of backing science. No advancement in science came about from an un-selfish decision, it all came from a selfish desire. It just so happens it benefits other people.

Still. I don't understand why, in a church and state seperation, we have catholics and the church of England having an influence in our parliament.

Edited by Chokmah
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Yeah I know.

Hence why I respect his decision. He could have gone all fundie and state his son is that way because god made him that way. Instead of backing science. No advancement in science came about from an un-selfish decision, it all came from a selfish desire. It just so happens it benefits other people.

Still. I don't understand why, in a church and state seperation, we have catholics and the church of England having an influence in our parliament.

I totally agree with everything you've said. I too believe that advancement in this technology is needed & will be invaluable, & i've never understood why religion should have any part in the political process. But in my opinion Brown is a slug, & heaping any credit on the guy is misplaced

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I totally agree with everything you've said. I too believe that advancement in this technology is needed & will be invaluable, & i've never understood why religion should have any part in the political process. But in my opinion Brown is a slug, & heaping any credit on the guy is misplaced

Oh he is, he's a pathetic leader and he has no clue what the hell he's even doing. His sloth appearence does him a lot more harm also.

But, he's the PM, he has the most power in parliament. It's a shame he's not a good leader, otherwise he'd be able to get across this bill far easier. But, everyone knows he isn't a stable figure.

But I respect his decision to stick by the bill. I don't respect him - which I see now I made it sound like.

Edited by Chokmah
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Science won :tu:

Soon, Britain could be the leading country in stem cell research~

The Parliamentary vote allowing scientists to create hybrid embryos makes the news in several papers.

The Daily Telegraph says Britain is now set to become a world leader in the stem cell research.

For the Mail, however, the development is "a huge step into the unknown" as millennia of moral, religious and scientific belief have been defied.

The Mirror says MPs voted for progress. In the Sun's view, such science could potentially improve quality of life.

BBC

As I couldn't find the actual article about the vote.

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