Human Genetics Alert

Phone/Fax: 020 7502 7516


For immediate release April 1st 2008

Newcastle scientists' failure to create viable animal-human embryos is no surprise

Neither is their manipulation of the media and Parliament

Responding to today's news that Newcastle scientists have failed to create viable animal-human hybrid embryos, HGA's (1) Director, Dr David King, said: "For anyone who understands basic biology, it is no surprise that these embryos died at such an early stage. Cloning is inefficient precisely because it is so unnatural, and by mixing species it becomes even more unnatural and unlikely to succeed. The public has been grossly misled by the hype that this is vital medical research. Even if stem cells were ever to be produced, like cloned animals, they would have so many errors of their metabolism that they would produce completely misleading data.

“This research is a complete waste of taxpayers money. These researchers should follow the cue of Ian Wilmut, the creator of Dolly the sheep, who has abandoned animal-human-hybrids in favour of the reprogramming of adult cells, which requires neither cloning nor the mixing of species. Their persistence with this research seems little more than bloody mindedness."

"The timing of the announcement of this non-result, just as Parliament is about to debate legislation on hybrid embryos is typical (2) of the Newcastle lab's tendency to manipulate the media and politicians. The BBC has been duped into making this a news story, which will then be used to persuade politicians that animal-human hybrids are promising science. This is 'science-by-press-release' which breaks all the scientific community's ethical guidelines.”

For more information contact Dr David King on 020 7502 7516, or email

Notes to editors

1. Human Genetics Alert is an independent secular watchdog group that supports abortion rights.

2. The Newcastle lab's handling of its research results has caused trouble in the past. Premature reports of its 'first British cloned human embryo' caused one of its leading researchers to leave the laboratory. In addition, it persistently misrepresents its work as 'therapeutic cloning', when in fact it is basic biological research.