Rabbit eggs may be used for stem-cell research

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The Independent Online

Scientists are planning to create animal-human embryos cloned from human skin cells and unfertilised rabbit eggs.

Professor Ian Wilmut of Edinburgh University, who cloned Dolly the sheep, and his colleague Professor Chris Shaw, of King's College London, want to clone rabbit-human embryos for stem-cell research into severe illness, because of a shortage of good-quality human eggs.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority said yesterday that the HFEA Act did not cover the creation of animal-human embryos but its legal advisers have ruled that scientists need a licence for such research.

The law stipulates that human embryos created by cloning cannot be allowed to survive beyond the 14-day stage of development.