Denying Funding for Human/Hybrid Cloning in Brave New Britain
Posted Jan 14 2009 7:17pm
"The scientists" in the UK are throwing a tantrum because their funding for the creation of human/cow hybrid embryos has apparently slowed. From the story:
Britain's effort to lead the world in stem cell research with the creation of human-animal "hybrid" clones has ground to a halt through lack of funding less than a year after the controversial technique was legalised.
Funding bodies are refusing to finance the research and existing projects have been run down to the point at which they may end completely within weeks. One of the researchers involved in the work said last night that the grant applications may have been blocked by scientists on the funding committees who are morally opposed to the creation of cloned hybrid embryos derived from mixing human cells with the eggs of cows, pigs or rabbits.
In other words, they don't really know why. It could be there is a lack of money. The UK is in a deep recession--not that "the scientists" think it should affect them. Or, it could be that the research proposals weren't considered of sufficient scientific merit to justify spending the public's money. But I hope they are right and the refusal to fund has been about ethics and morality. To claim that such matters have no place in science policy decisions--particularly when spending the public money--is not only dangerous, it is folly.
Then came the usual fear mongering:
The decision threatens Britain's leading position in the world in terms of creating of stem cells from animal-human hybrid embryos, research which in the US is banned from receiving federal government funding.
Well, I suppose that is technically true. But that's a pretty narrow parameter. It doesn't mean that UK biotechnology itself is falling behind.
I am sure this shot across the bow from the scientists in a left wing paper ( The Independent ) will prime the pump and get the money flowing. To date, "the scientists" in the UK have gotten just about whatever they want. I doubt this bump in the road will be any different.