Scientists create a cow-human hybrid

SCIENTISTS HAVE fused the nucleus of a human cell with an egg cell taken from a cow to create the world's first embryonic clone of an adult man.

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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Refrigeration Engineer

£24000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: These refrigeration specialists...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Logistics and Supply Chain

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an operational role and...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Sheet Metal Worker / Fabricator

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working within the workshop of ...

Recruitment Genius: 1st / 2nd Line IT Support Engineer

£20000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This specialist high tech compa...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral