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Scientists in the UK are seeking to produce hybrid embryos containing human and cow DNA

This is to produce a stock of almost human embryos for stem cell research without extracting eggs from women's bodies

Scientists in the UK have applied for permission to create an embryo that combines human DNA with a cow's egg. The researchers, from the University of Newcastle and King's College London, asked the British Fertility and Embryology Authority for permission for experiments that would last three years.

These hybrid embryos will be used for stem cell research and it will not be possible to develop them into embryos but to grow them for at most a few days in a test tube, however critics claim that the experiment is unethical and has potential dangers. Stem cell research is one of the most promising areas in medical science.

They are the parent cells of the body, and the five-day-old embryos are wrapped in them. Each such cell has the potential to become any cell in any tissue in the body. This is exactly the feature that scientists seek to exploit to treat diseases such as Parkinson's, stroke and Alzheimer's. To do this, they need access to thousands of embryos for the research. The problem is that human eggs for research are in short supply and to remove them from the woman's body, surgery is necessary. This is the reason why the scientists ask to use a cow's egg as a substitute. They will inject human DNA into a cow's egg, whose genetic material has been removed, and then create an embryo using the same technique used to create Dolly the sheep.

The result is an embryo that will be 99.9% human, with a few elements from cattle, the same mitochondrial DNA - the DNA outside the cell nucleus. Despite the tiny proportion of the non-human components, the creature will actually be a hybrid, a chimera, that is, part human and part animal. The goal will be to extract stem cells from the fetus at the age of six days and then destroy it. The quality and vitality of the stem cells will be tested and the scientists will see if the method actually works.

The scientists also plan to study the way the stem cells are reprogrammed after they are fused to see if they can identify useful processes that they can mimic in the lab. The main researcher in the project, Dr. Lil Armstrong, said in an interview with the BBC: "If we can learn from the egg cells how to create embryonic stem cells without the need to use an animal egg at all, then one day we may be able to cure diseases such as Parkinson's or improve the condition of Patients with age-related diseases that create a burden on society."

Dr Stephen Minger, of King's College said: "The current state of the technology is such that it would take hundreds of eggs from women to create one human embryonic stem cell. Therefore, we believe that it would be more appropriate to use non-human eggs, from farm animals, as host eggs. "We feel that the development of dedicated stem cell lines for studies of specific diseases from the DNA of humans suffering from neurodegenerative disorders will accelerate both basic research and the development of new drugs to treat these serious brain diseases."

However, there are critics of this step. Callum MacKellar (MacKellar) from the Scottish Council of Bioethics, said that the study undermines the distinction between humans and animals and violates human rights. "Throughout human history, people and animals have been separate. Processes of this kind involve at the most intimate level an animal egg and human chromosomes and may erase the boundary between human animals and humans. If this happens, it will be a violation of human dignity and rights."

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