Federal government to lift ban on scientists creating part-human, part-animal embryos
By: Josh King
The federal government plans to lift the ban on funding controversial experiments in which researchers use human stem cells to create partially human animal embryos.
After initially imposing a moratorium on the funding for ethical reasons, The National Institutes of Health, abbreviated as NIH, is proposing a new policy.
The new policy would permit scientists to receive federal money to create these embryos, which are known as chimeras, under carefully monitored conditions.
Scientists in favor of the new plan hope to use the study to find cures for disease. They also hope to be able to grow human organs like hearts and livers inside certain animals to be used as transplants for humans.
Other scientists argue these chimeras may unintentionally be created with a part human brain, giving them a semblance of human consciousness and cognitive ability, among other issues.
If the proposal moves forward, NIH could start funding projects by early 2017.