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Defending life from the moment of conception

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Bioethics think-tank criticises rabbit-human hybrid plans

17 January 2006

The Centre for Bioethics and Public Policy (CBPP), a UK bioethics think-tank has criticised plans to create hybrid human-rabbit embryos for research purposes. Nigel Cameron, chairman of CBPP, said that it "establishes British leadership in the depressing journey towards the Brave New World." Professor Ian Wilmut, who cloned Dolly the Sheep, said creating hybrids was necessary to bypass the shortage of human eggs available for research. [Christian Today, 16 January]

Prosecutors in South Korea have questioned members of Hwang Woo-Suk's team to determine whether any of them should face criminal charges including fraud and embezzlement. By the end of 2005, the disgraced cloning scientist had received $42.2 million in government funding and $4.35 million from private funds. The South Korean government reportedly plans to establish ethical guidelines for scientific research in the country. [BBC, 16 January]

A UK-based scientist who recently moved to Spain has accused his partner of trying to take the credit for his team's work and of breaching good scientific practice. Miodrag Stojkovic, formerly professor of embryology and stem cell biology at Newcastle, complained that Professor Alison Murdoch announced that they had cloned Britain's first human embryo before the research had been fully reviewed and published in a scientific journal and accused her of taking the publicity. "The laboratory scientists do not need someone who has been doing nothing in the laboratory and who knows nothing about the work, to represent them," he said. Newcastle University has defended Professor Murdoch. [The Times of London, 15 January]

A doctor has been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter after ambulance staff complained that she refused to resuscitate a dying patient. A coroner ordered an investigation after Dr Shanta Dhar was called to the house of Joan Board, 78, and called an ambulance after she collapsed. Paramedics attempted CPR but Mrs Board died on the way to hospital and ambulance personnel are said to believe that Mrs Board would have had a better chance of survival if she had received CPR earlier. Dr Dhar was released on police bail. [The Times of London, 16 January]

Italian feminists marched in Milan at the weekend in support of abortion and the legalisation of the RU-486 abortion drug, Catholic World News reports. Cardinal Lopez Trujillo described RU-486 as "chemical warfare against unborn life" and said that the demonstration, which coincided with a gay rights march in Rome had involved a strong amount of "harassment of the Church." [CWNews, 16 January]

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