embryonic stem cells, stem cells., human embryos, professor, stem cell
MR300108CLIN_4.jpgMark RadfordClinical Sciences building, University Hospital. Professor Justin St John.A WARWICK UNIVERSITY professor is one of a group of controversial stem cell scientists in the UK looking to create human-animal embryos.Justin St John, professor of reproductive biology at Warwick Medical School is calling for the government to allow this vital" research to continue.He is one of four experts who have written a letter published in this month's international science journal, Nature, stating their case.The "hybrid" embryos are created by transferring the nuclei of human cells, such as skin cells, into animal eggs.Scientists believe they could provide an invaluable source of embryonic stem cells for use in research on human diseases.MPs are debating the highly controversial Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill in Parliament, which includes a regulation-making power that could lead to human-animal hybrid embryos being allowed.But the move has angered religious groups and pro-life campaigners.Prof St John, Lyle Armstrong of Newcastle University, Stephen Minger, of King's College, London, and Keith S Campbell, of the University of Nottingham, are each proposing "interspecies" studies in which a human cell will be transferred into an animal egg.They write: "We strongly recommend that scientists be allowed to generate interspecies embryos and to culture these for up to 14 days, placing them under the same restrictions as any human embryos generated under current legislation."The scientists believe that it would be a backwards step "to prevent any avenue of research, especially one with such high potential gains".Prof St John said: "In our current research we want to understand more about hybrid cloning. We have been using mouse skin cells injected into pig eggs. We have a programme where we are trying to make stem cells."My view is that we need to do something to find better therapies for a range of diseases and stem cells can provide the answers."30th January 2008"
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