Hybrid embryos were created in the UK. Scientists used bovine eggs that had the DNA removed and injected human DNA (from skin) into the eggs. The eggs grew for as long as 3 days. The researchers plan on working towards a 14 day lifespan, at which time the embryos would be destroyed. No, they aren’t trying to create a Minotaur or something of that sort; they are seeking for new ways to create stem cells. The researchers see this hybridization as one of the most promising ways. While the researchers on the team state that their research is completely ethical, a broader debate is occurring in the UK. If the research is completely ethical then there wouldn’t really be a debate. What’s ethical to one person is not necessarily ethical to another. Parliament will debate the issue in about a month. The Catholic Church, of course, has condemned the research.
It seems though that there are better ways to get stem cells that aren’t as controversial. I’ll admit that I am ignorant about this type of research but scientists already successfully can get stem cells from other sources, such as skin. There are very few people who believe that it is unethical to derive stem cells from such sources. I’m not saying whether or not I think that they should be doing this research I just think that those of us who are researchers think very carefully about the ethical and moral implications of our research. We can’t just seek consensus among fellow researchers either; we need to be willing to listen to people outside of science.
Read more about the issue here.