Hybrid, er, cybrid stem cell research

Janet Babin Sep 8, 2007


Scott Jagow: Embryonic stem cells are touted as a great hope for curing diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, but scientists can’t get a hold of enough of the cells to do the research. A decision this week in Britain might change that. Janet Babin reports from our Innovations Desk at North Carolina Public Radio.

Janet Babin: To ease the shortage British authorities have ruled that stem cells can be created from so called ‘cybrid’ eggs. That’s when they take human DNA and inject it into animal eggs.

Dr. Anthony Atala with Wake Forest University says the British rule adds credibility to cybrid egg research.

Dr. Anthony Atala: By allowing these types of technologies it does really go one step further in having this type of regulation be more acceptable throughout other countries.

Some oppose mixing human cells with animal proteins or tissues, but Atala says the resulting cybrid egg is 99.9 percent human.

The embryos have to be destroyed after two weeks.

Similar research is underway in China, Canada and the U.S.

I’m Janet Babin for Marketplace.

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