UK researchers urge limits on human-animal research
British medical researchers are calling for tighter regulation on research involving animals with human tissue or genes, while cautiously approving some experiments, the BBC reports.
Professor Christopher Shaw highlighted objectionable 'category three' experiments such as:
- the mixing of non-human primate and human cells to make an embryo
- the mixing of human and non-human gametes (reproductive cells)
- the replacement of monkey brain cells with human ones to gain human characteristics
Dr Robin Lovell-Badge suggested a gap between fantasy and reality:
Everyone laughs at talking meerkats and cats with opposable thumbs, but if we were actually doing that in the labs I don't think people would be so happy.
However, group members concluded that the benefit of humanizing animals for medical research could justify harm to animals, and were:
...not persuaded by the argument that humanising animals to benefit our own species introduces a new level of exploitation into the relationships between humans and animals.
The Academy claimed their survey "showed a high degree of public acceptance of ACHM research provided it is well regulated, and justified".
Medical correspondent Fergus Walsh solicited comments in his blog.