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Friday, January 13, 2006

UK Cloning Doctor Wants to Create Human/Rabbit Hybrid Clones

Hilary White

EDINBURGH, January 13, 2006 ( - British cloners are seeking permission to create human-rabbit hybrid embryos for use as research subjects in studying motor neurone disease. Professor Ian Wilmut, a leading advocate of human cloning for experimentation and creator of Dolly, the cloned sheep, has added this latest to his list of requests from the UK’s Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA).

The HFEA, regarded as the most permissive national regulatory body in the world, has not yet refused Dr. Wilmut permission for any of his proposed research including the creation of human cloned embryos for research.

Wilmut, recently installed at the University of Edinburgh as head of their new Centre for Regenerative Medicine, is focusing his research on motor neurone diseases such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, (ALS) the disease that paralysed physicist Stephen Hawking.

Wilmut is proposing to create the hybrid cloned human embryos that carry the disease in order to “mimic the disease in the young person who, some unknown number of years in the future, would develop the disease. It gives a way to study the development of the disease which you could not do in any other way.”

Wilmut told British media, “We would only be working at a very early stage with a maximum of 200 cells. I wouldn't think of a human embryo at that stage as being a person.”

In January 2005, National Geographic magazine ran a large report on human/animal hybrid experiments around the world. Scientists at the Mayo Clinic have created pigs with human blood, and Chinese scientists have reportedly combined human cells with rabbit eggs to create a hybrid embryo.

Read coverage of Wilmut:

Dolly the Sheep Clone Now Wants to Clone Humans

Use Dying People for Embryo Stem Cell Experiments says British Cloning Researcher

Germany Condemning Dolly Cloner Wilmut as Recipient of Prestigious Science Prize

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