Embryo research approved
British lawmakers voted Monday to approve controversial plans to allow the use of animal-human embryos for research.
The proposed laws, the first major review of embryo science in Britain for almost 20 years, have provoked stormy debate — pitting Prime Minister Gordon Brown and scientists against religious leaders, anti-abortion campaigners and a large number of lawmakers.
Brown has said he believes scientists seeking to use mixed animal-human embryos for stem cell research into diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s are on a moral mission to improve — and save — millions of lives.
The process involves injecting an empty cow or rabbit egg with human DNA. A burst of electricity is then used to trick the egg into dividing regularly, so that it becomes a very early embryo, from which stem cells can be extracted.
Scientists say the embryos would not be allowed to develop for more than 14 days, and are intended to address the shortage of human embryos available for research.