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back to article Stem cell researchers claim victory in battle with Church

Scientists have today welcomed MPs' decision to allow them to create human-animal hybrids in order to harvest embryonic stem cells for research. After a weekend of intensive and emotive lobbying from both sides of the debate, the victory for scientists late last night was comfortable in the end. In a free vote, 336 MPs voted in …

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Happy

Good!

Good! For once a small smattering of sanity has managed to break through all the FUD and anti-terror this and creationist that...

Doubtless we'll have to wait a while for the next one to come along though :(

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I want a tail like a squirrel

Will the boffins use their new freedom to work on that?

NO

They will waste time and squander resources on keeping more of the population alive, in an over crowded world.

Where is the justice? Where are the squirrel tails!!!

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Bronze badge

I don't know what to say

I'm stumped, how can this outrage have happened?

What went wrong?

How did a government make the right call on a bioethics issue?

As for squirrel tails, surely you'd rather have retractable wings and gills? I know I would.

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Abortion

"Recent medical advances have meant that very premature babies born before this point have survived"

OK, most people would agree that there has to be some point in a pregnancy where termination would be a bad thing (and some people will always argue that it is a bad thing at any point of course).

What i don't understand is this pish; "well, if the woman gave birth prematurely at this stage, the baby might survive, given state of the art medical care" So what? If you left the baby alone in the womb it will most likely survive too. In the future it might be possible to grow a viable human in the lab from a fertilised egg, or maybe even just an egg, or a sperm. Will this mean that a woman having her period will be murder? Will teenage boys spraying their bellys with sticky white love piss be committing crimes against humanity?

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Dan
Paris Hilton

Never mind the squirrels

I want a people-cow

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Anonymous Coward

Warcraft

Blizzard can now create real life Taurens.

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Flame

Slavery is back with a Vengeance (Saviour Siblings)

<IANAL>

The Saviour Siblings part of the legislation is tantamount to slavery, as the moment that the "Saviour" is born they are obligated in servitude to the sick child, their own human rights of choice in donation, forsaken for the sick sibling.

How would you feel if you had been born out of a need for your tissue, spare parts supply.

I understand the emotional need as a parent, but at societal level this is morally wrong, and possibly unlawful under the Human Rights Act.

</IANAL>

My MP will hear of my displeasure!

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Dan

On a more serious note ...

IVF. Why are we contributing to over-population by allowing IVF when there are plenty of kids with no parents? Also, there are usually sound genetic reasons why a person can not breed.

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Boffin

What's all this "hybrid" malarkey?

Um, I'm no geneticist, but isn't all this "hoo-ha" just about putting some human DNA into a non-human egg cell which has had the nucleus (i.e. its own DNA) removed? How can this *ever* create a "hybrid"? Surely it's just human DNA, isn't it??

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Stem cell researchers claim victory in battle with Church

Is anyone else a bit concerned by the fact that the media has largely spun this issue as a battle between religion and science?

Certainly religious groups have opposed this measure on moral grounds, but the scientific benefits and validity of this research has also been questioned from within the scientific community itself.

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Coat

I was going to comment

but it's far to rude....

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Coat

can we make

a woman who looks hot but doesnt whine or moan?:P

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Paris Hilton

@ Stem cell researchers claim victory in battle with Church

No really? The media simplifying a complex issue down to the mentality of a lynch mob? Shirley not.

The many boffins involved are also highly moral too, but with the ability to get past the "yuck" factor.

Paris is already a (sub-)human hybrid.

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Coat

Nuts to the Squirrel Tails!

Having just had a chat with a friend who is the mother of two baby girls, we decided that Squirrel Tails would be useful for dusting.

However we would like to see the research done to allow every new born to come with an extra arm for the mother. That way they would have enough arms to deal with folding the buggy, holding the child and getting on the bus and paying the driver without need to learn to juggle large objects.

Mines the coat with the extra arm.

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Unhappy

Re: Dan

"I want a people cow"

I married one.

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title...

I personally don't have a problem with the use of animal egg shells (is that the right terminology) for human cells.

I think that the abortion limit is ok-ish, possilby slightly on the high side, but not much, if it is. Accepting that I really don't like the idea of abortion, but then again, you're not supposed to be a enthusiast of this sort of thing...

Saviour siblings however is really fucking worrying. How can you create a life specifically in order to harvest it's organs/bone marrow/etc, when there is no way that it can consent? Umbilical chord blood, not really a problem, but bone marrow transplants, for example, are far more dangerous for the donor and not especially sucessfull. Do you wait until the intended donor is 18 and able to consent, albeit under a massive ammount of pressure, or can the parents make the decision earlier in life? Very worrying...

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@ What's all this "hybrid" malarkey?

The argument is that some of the non-human DNA may still be in there, it's not 100% guaranteed clean with the process as it stands..

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Anonymous Coward

Saviour Siblings

"Saviour siblings however is really fucking worrying. How can you create a life specifically in order to harvest it's organs/bone marrow/etc, when there is no way that it can consent? Umbilical chord blood, not really a problem, but bone marrow transplants, for example, are far more dangerous for the donor and not especially sucessfull. Do you wait until the intended donor is 18 and able to consent, albeit under a massive ammount of pressure, or can the parents make the decision earlier in life? Very worrying..."

Try reading My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Fiction, but a very interesting and thought provoking story of a saviour sibling.

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Flame

CJD anyone?

When this new fangled science involving 'growth hormone' was developed back in the 60s it was to be a wonder cure, and apparently no thought was given to the risk of cross species disease spread. Then several decades later along comes CJD and slowly killed many people in horrible ways. What have we learned from this? Nothing - we've (well, ok, the arseholes in London) have just given the ok to dabble further in bio-medical areas that they think they are all-knowing in, but in reality are just playing around with. Pure stupidity.

And whats this about saviour siblings? That is just obscene. I thought we were a civilised society. My mistake.

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Anonymous Coward

@Dan

"Also, there are usually sound genetic reasons why a person can not breed."

I'm not sure if you intended to, but you do sound like a bit of a Nazi!

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Mitochondrial DNA

Cells of people, cows, squirrels, penguins, plants and fungi contain mitochondria. Mitochondria contain their own DNA, and reproduce independently of the host cell. Mitochondria make adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is used to power most processes inside cells. AFAIK, Mitochondria are the only source of ATP (IANAboilogist).

I think the plan is to create embryos with human chromosomes (where most of the DNA lives) and cow mitochondria. I have yet to read anything that tells me the advantages of such embryos.

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Black Helicopters

Human Rights Act

http://www.opsi.gov.uk/ACTS/acts1998/ukpga_19980042_en_3#sch1-pt1

"No one shall be held in slavery or servitude."

Enshrined from the European Convention of Human Rights:-

http://www.hri.org/docs/ECHR50.html Article 4.

Which comes from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 4

http://www.hri.org/docs/UDHR48.html

"Article 4

No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms."

Farming people for body parts is not something a decent society should be allowing, for that is slavery. The Sibling angle, to a degree just personalises the issue.

Way to go Commons, lets just hope the Lords see sense.

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Dead Vulture

RE:CJD anyone

I've never heard of any links between CJD and growth hormones. Could you elborate?

Dead vulture, because it doesn't react well to drugs in livestock, just like AC.

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Stop

@Hybrid "malarkey"

Just to clear things up a bit, regarding there being some leftover bits of DNA - there are no "ifs" about it, no "chances" of some DNA remaining. The mitochondrial DNA from the host (animal) egg cell will still be present. Human DNA + animal DNA is a pretty good example of "hybrid"

@AC

There's a difference between "saying" someone shouldn't breed and someone not being capable of breeding - the latter does occur in nature, the former only among humans.

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Brave New World

Soylent Green

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No squirrel tails

if we can't have pointy ears as well.

Otherwise, nice collection of knee-jerk reactions from the IANA brigade.

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Re: ACs

"Farming people for body parts is not something a decent society should be allowing, for that is slavery."

No, forcing someone to work for no wage and and buying and selling them and their children as property is slavery. Selecting an embryo that you know will save your child, which will then grow up into a free human able to live its life according to its own will, same as all the rest of us, is saving a child's life. That's it.

"How would you feel if you had been born out of a need for your tissue, spare parts supply."

Better than if I'd been born as a result of rape, or intoxication, or because my family needed another 0.8 kids (adjusting for the rate of infant deaths) to work in the fields and support them in old age. In fact, even "my parents have been married for three years and arbitrarily decided it was time" isn't a particulary good reason to begin life.

No, scratch that, I wouldn't feel better. How I was born makes absolutely no difference to how I live now, as an adult. It has no effect whatsoever. Let's say you or I had, in fact, been born for 'spare parts'. If God waved a magic wand and changed the past so we were born for 'normal' reasons (see above), and left everything else the same, would our lives in the present be better or worse? Worse, obviously. We'd have lived our lives in a completely identical fashion, the only difference would be that we'd be minus one sibling.

No-one wonder people post this tripe as ACs. Think this stuff through.

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Coat

pfff...

www.godhatesfurries.com

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des brown and ruth kelly

should hang their heads in shame. this whole area could lead to treatments of serious diseases and they use a religious belief to try and stop that - disgraceful.

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Go

Squirrel Tails?

I think we are going to see a real spiderman soon :D

I want to be mixed with a pig cause they have half-an-hour orgasms..

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Dan

@CJD anyone?

I'm pretty sure that BSE can be attributed to the over-use of organophosphates in insecticides, not growth hormones.

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Joke

What about the catgirls?

Will nobody consider the catgirls?

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Happy

awwww

and all I wanted was a real sheeple...

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Anonymous Coward

@Peyton

"There's a difference between "saying" someone shouldn't breed and someone not being capable of breeding - the latter does occur in nature, the former only among humans."

True, but Dan's post in full:

"IVF. Why are we contributing to over-population by allowing IVF when there are plenty of kids with no parents? Also, there are usually sound genetic reasons why a person can not breed."

Seems to be "saying" that if you can't reproduce, we shouldn't fix this with IVF and that "genetic reasons" justify this.

Sounds like eugenics to me.

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Stop

@Saviour Siblings

This seems to have been poorly reported. Best as I can make out they don't want to take organs from the sibling, but to use the blood and cells from the placenta and umbilical cord to help the elder child. This is otherwise waste tissue and not likely to be subject to the human rights act.

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Joke

Re: @Dan

"I'm not sure if you intended to, but you do sound like a bit of a Nazi!"

No, I'm sure its the arm bands that make him look like a Nazi.

And the little 'tash.

And the side parting & quiff.

And the jack boots.

Invading Poland didn't help either.

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A
Stop

@Dan and Dominic Kua and AC

Dan - BSE has nothing to do with organophosphates, they can cause brain damage and have in some humans, usually due to their use in sheep dip, but this is not transmitted and certainly not by eating

Dominic - he's refering to the use of growth hormone from infected animals, though there is little/no evidence suggesting that this led to the emergence of vCJD. However the use of human growth human taken from cadavers that had CJD has been shown to have caused CJD in people who used it. This happened at very low levels however and you were more likely to get HIV that CJD from human growth hormone.

AC who Dominic responded to - human growth hormone has been presented as a "wonder drug" though this was largely due to misinterpretation of one paper, as I've said the deaths its use cause were in no way cross-species and as there have only been 26 reported I'm not sure that qualifies as many. The deaths had nothing to do with the growth hormone itself just with not purifying it well enough. Would you stop the use of any drug that's ever killed anyone regardless of how many lives it might save? If so I can't imagine there's anything in your medicine cabinet.

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Go

Think of the money...

The only reason this has been given the green-light is to make sure that the life-sciences industry in the UK is able to cash in. As always, the driver behind this political decision is purely economic - that's why it doesn't matter if this technique is useful or not, so long as some pharmaceutical company is willing to spend millions on it right here in he UK.

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Dan

@@Peyton

Lets pretend for a minute then that I didn't mention genetics and over-population:

What about the kids with no parents or family that would love parents but aren't going to get them because we are enabling otherwise childless people to have children?

That's my main issue with IVF.

The genetics argument is also valid as per horses, donkeys and mules.

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Sibling Saviors

If a kid is born for a bit of blood (especially from the placenta) then I don't see a problem with it as they have no impact on the child and/or would be done anyway.

If it's for more invassive procedures then I would say that it should only be done if the child is consenting (not necessarily 18 but at least old enough to have some idea what will happen and why) and the kid's opinion should be independently verified by an expert as geniune willingness to help rather than parental 'bullying'. How practical all this is is another matter!

I suppose this also raises the question if a kid up for adoption, would it be OK to adopt them and then put them through a bone marrow extraction procedure or similar?

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@AC about IVF

I don't see a problem with IVF however, as it's not life saving and doesn't improve the quality of life (like a hearing aid for example) then I say let the parents foot the bill themselves or adopt one of the many hundreds of children needing a good home. The cases where the NHS has foot the bill for this are beyond belief given you can't get certain cancer or Altzeimer's treatments on the NHS!

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Stop

Wrong

"The second vote will decide whether to cut the upper limit for abortions from 24 weeks. Recent medical advances have meant that very premature babies born before this point have survived."

From yesterday's Grauniad, quote by David Field, professor of neonatology at Leicester University, president of the British Association of Perinatal Medicine: "At 24 and 25 weeks there is no doubt that survival is improved. At 22 and 23 weeks we found no evidence whatsoever. Survival at 23 weeks in the first six years (of my report 1994 to 1999) was 18.48% of those who admitted to a neotnatal unit. In the second period (2000 to 2005) it is 18.52%, which is a .04% difference over 12 years. It was almost as identical as you can get it. There is no change."

Just because your Catholics and similarly religious types are saying survival rates pre-24 weeks have improved, doesn't mean they aren't lying through their teeth and assuming (correctly) that the vast majority of people won't actually check the truth of their statements.

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Alert

Oh dear

HGH has nothing to do with nvCJD, the human form of BSE, which is what most people think of when mentioning CJD. CJD has been known about since the early 1970s, before the advent of HGH.

As for the "Recent medical advances have meant that very premature babies born before this point have survived", well, sorry, there hasn't been a significant change at 23 weeks or later in the last fifteen years or so: in a recent thorough study, survivability at 23 weeks between 1994 and 1999 was 18.46%; between 2000 and 2005 it was 18.52%. This is not what one might call a step-change, and certainly not enough to restrict the right to elect a termination further. Survivability has incresaed somewhat past 24 weeks. This a classic low-ball tactic to chip away at the availability of terminations, since there are also amendments to reduce the limit to 13, 16 and 18 weeks. Many people don't even realise they are pregnant at 13 weeks, especially if they have a history of dysmennorreah (sp?), or are under certain medications.

These amendments must fail.

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To save a life... you need to be a hero

Best Bits Censored (BBC) let slip during its coverage that 200,000 abortions are performed in the UK annually - industrial-scale production of embryonic stem cells. The result of making love on an industrial scale.

One cannot kill the thing one loves, so how is it that it has become so easy to kill and so hard to love?

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@Dan

Yeah, it sucks that we have orphans. However, the only consistent solution to that is to forbid anyone from having babies until all orphans in the care system have been allocated. (This is of course completely impossible - not just infeasible, impossible. Enforcing such a system would mean jailing parents for having illegal babies, which would create yet more orphans, meaning that the solution to the problem would make the problem even worse.)

There's no rational reason to demand that the responsibility for accepting orphans should be inflicted solely on those unfortunate enough to be infertile. It would be pure discrimination.

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Mixed Mitochondria

>I think the plan is to create embryos with human chromosomes (where most of >the DNA lives) and cow mitochondria. I have yet to read anything that tells me >the advantages of such embryos.

The only advantage is that they exist. If a good supply of genuine human eggs was available, then no-one would be contemplating complicated and expensive procedures like this, which won't produce 100% accurate results (but which will hopefully prove close enough to be worthwhile).

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Anonymous Coward

@Neil Docherty

I can understand your logic; but which would you, as an individual, rather have:

a) Treatment for Alzheimers so you can remember that you don't have any children.

b) Treatment for infertility so that there'll be someone around to care that you have Alzheimers.

The NHS is always making budget allocation decisions that will affect peoples lives, the world will never be perfect.

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@Mark Dempster

Thanks, I meant to make that point as well

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Saviour siblings are good for each other, not just for the older one, surely?

If an embryo is selected to be genetically compatible with the older sibling, surely this also means that the younger sibling could benefit from the tissues/organs/stem cells of the older sibling if the younger became ill? It's a reciprocal benefit, not "slavery".

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