Human-rabbit embryos intensify stem cell debate

August 18, 2003 | Source: news service

“Human” embryonic stem cells have been harvested from cloned embryos created by fusing human cells with rabbit eggs, claims a soon-to-be published report by Chinese scientists.

The goal of the experiments: create a new source of embryonic stem cells (ESCs), which can transform into any tissue, making them potential sources of replacement cells for the treatment of many diseases.

Unlike controversial fertilized human embryos, which must be destroyed to harvest ESCs, the rabbit-human hybrid embryos could not be develop beyond the earliest stages, experts believe.