Further experimentation on human embryos
6 June 2008
Human embryo cells have been used to treat neural defects in mice. Scientists at Rochester University, NY, put glial progenitor cells from human foetal brains into the spines of mutant mice, some of whose longevity was increased because of the consequent growth of myelin. [Nature, 4 June] Human adult brain-cells have reportedly been made embryo-like by American and German researchers, who claim the technique may one day be used to create any kind of tissue. [Telegraph, 4 June]
Children with three parents have reportedly been created in the laboratory, and they could be implanted in a woman in the near future. Newcastle University, England, have added a second woman's DNA to IVF embryos which carry genetic diseases. Present regulations require the destruction of such embryos after 14 days. [Daily Mail, 5 June]
An opinion survey suggests that the European Union's Lisbon treaty could be rejected by the Irish people next week. The TNS/MRBI poll found 35% against the treaty with 30% for it. [Telegraph, 6 June] It is unclear whether the treaty will make Ireland's law restricting abortion the subject of European human rights judges.
A proposed law in Canada would treat unborn children as victims if their pregnant mothers are attacked. Mr Ken Epp's measure has popular support, according to an opinion poll, but the opposition Liberal party says it will block any vote on it. [LifeNews, 5 June]
The Australian state of Victoria may decriminalise abortion and John Smeaton, SPUC's national director, has written about how this relates to the UK situation. [SPUC director's blog, 6 June]
The Church of Scotland is involved with establishing a new telephone advice service for women who have recently given birth. Our source suggests post-natal depression affects one woman in 10. [BBC, 6 June]