British scientists have created over 150 human-animal hybrid embryos, in secret experiments conducted over the last three years, according to English publication the Daily Mail.
The news comes just days after a group of scientists warned of a “Planet of the Apes” scenario if the human-animal experiments went too far.
The embryos were being developed, scientists say, to help develop cures for a wide range of diseases.
The experiments conducted under the 2008 Human Fertilization Embryology Act, resulted in two different hybrids. One is called a chimera and the other a cybrid. Chimeras are human cells mixed with animal embryos, and cybrids are created from a human nucleus being implanted into an animal cell.
Scientists have claimed that stem cells extracted from the hybrids could be used to treat a number of incurable diseases.
The research was conducted by three labs including Kings College London, Newcastle University and Warwick University, who were all granted licenses under the 2008 Act. However, it was reported recently that all the hybrid experiments stopped due to lack of funding, leaving them with 155 confirmed hybrids developed.
Pro-Life groups such as Comment on Reproductive Ethics have been speaking out on the issue strongly.
“I am aghast that this is going on and we didn’t know anything about it,” said Josephine
Quintaville, a member of the group. “Why have they kept this a secret? If they are proud of what they are doing why do we need to ask Parliamentary questions for this to come to light?”
British crossbench peer Lord Alton also commented: “I argued in Parliament against the creation of human-animal hybrids as a matter of principal. None of the scientists who appeared before us could give us any justification in terms of treatment.”
He also stated that scientists used the explanation of curing diseases with the hybrids as a form of “emotional blackmail.”
Alton claims more cures have been developed by adult stem cells and that using embryonic stem cells is not necessary.
He adds that these shocking experiments are a failure on the part of scientists from a moral and ethical standpoint.