Scientists create a cow-human hybrid
Friday 13 November 1998
The human-cow hybrid did not survive beyond a few days but it developed to the stage of a 32-cell embryo in an experiment that has far- reaching ethical implications.
An American biotechnology company, Advanced Cell Technology (ACT), based in Worcester, Massachusetts, yesterday stunned the scientific community by announcing in a press statement that it had created the hybrid embryo three years ago from the cells of one of its own scientists.
The company's aim was to generate human embryonic "stem cells", which are the vital progenitor cells of all the body's many different tissues.
"This advance, based on fusing a human somatic [non- reproductive] cell with a bovine egg cell from which the nucleus has been removed, may enable the production of an unlimited supply of such stem cells for transplant medicine," the company said.
Although it is thought unlikely that a human-cow hybrid embryo would ever be able tobe implanted in a womb and develop normally, the research will raise fears that the company may be pioneering a form of human cloning.
However Michael West, ACT's president and chief executive officer, denied that the research would lead to the full cloning of an adult. "We will not use this technology to clone human beings," he said yesterday.
The research, which has not been published in a scientific journal, was performed by Jose Cibelli, an Argentine-born scientist at the University of Massachusetts, which has a commercial link with ACT.
Dr Cibelli took 52 of his own cells - either white blood cells or skin cells from the inside of his cheek - and fused each with a cow egg. Most failed to thrive, according to a New York Times report, but one embryo grew and divided five times.
Dr Cibelli and his university colleague James Robl, who is well known in the area of animal cloning, have filed patents on the process with ACT controlling the commercial rights.
Asked if he was concerned about destroying 52 potential twins of himself, Dr Cibelli told The New York Times: "I never thought about it. But if you use your own cells to treat a disease you may have, you are not taking cells from another person selfishly."
- 1 Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
- 3 Ann Summers survey reveals the UK's favourite sex position
- 4 Jaden Smith wears gender fluid dress to high school prom with Hunger Games actress
- 5 How much sex should I be having?
Ed Miliband returns to the backbenches but it's all a bit awkward as he tries to avoid eye-contact with fellow Labour MPs
Man on naked bike ride gets ejected after becoming aroused
Charles Kennedy 1959-2015: A gifted, compassionate politician whose career was cut short by the 'demon drink' - latest news
Ayyan Ali: Pakistan's top model now appears in the courtroom rather than on the catwalk
Isis tortures 14-year-old Syrian boy and films it in graphic video for 'propaganda purposes'
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination
Migrants in Kos: Photos show real tragedy after Brits abroad complain of 'awkward' holidays
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
Michael Gove determined to scrap the Human Rights Act – even if Scotland retains it
Threat to scrap Human Rights Act could see UK follow Nazi example, warns UN official
Why this year's general election was the most unfair in Britain's history
£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...
£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...