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8-Humans: Japanese panel OKs animal-human embryos

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-------------------------------- GENET-news --------------------------------

TITLE:  Panel OKs animal-human embryos
SOURCE: The Japan Times
DATE:   November 8, 2001

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Panel OKs animal-human embryos

A government panel will allow scientists to create animal-human embryos by 
planting human cells in animal eggs. The decision, made Tuesday by a 
bioethics panel of the Council for Science and Technology Policy, says that 
an animal-human embryo could be created solely for research on replacement 
tissues for the heart, liver and other human organs. The panel, headed by 
Hiroo Imura, professor emeritus at Kyoto University, said that human cells 
to be implanted into animal eggs must not include human embryos and 
unfertilized eggs. Scientists will only be allowed to handle the hybrid 
embryos in laboratories. Implantation of such embryos into the womb of 
either an animal or human will be banned for fear that it could grow into a 
"chimera" that looks like an animal but has human cells. The decision will 
be passed on to the Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology 
Ministry, which will incorporate it into regulations under the law banning 
human cloning by Dec. 5. Researchers who fail to comply with the regulation 
may be imprisoned for up to one year or fined up to 1 million yen.


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