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U.K. Judge Dismisses Challenge to Animal-Human Hybrid Research

A long-shot attempt to block U.K. researchers from creating human-animal hybrid cells or embryos has ended quickly, with a judge dismissing a new lawsuit filed by the Christian Legal Centre and the Comment on Reproductive Ethics and ruling that the groups should pay £20,000 in court costs. The two parties had challenged the decision by the U.K's. Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to grant licenses for the interspecies work to several research teams. (A new law expanding the types of research regulated by HFEA was recently adopted.) In a statement, Stephen Minger of King's College London, who has one of the licenses, hailed the court decision:

It is gratifying that Justice Mrs. Dobbs recognized that the science behind the creation of hybrid embryos was always about creating unique cloned human cell lines that could accelerate the development of therapies for a number of important neurodegenerative conditions.  We welcome her decision and would also like to thank our legal team who worked so hard to defend our science.

John Travis

John Travis is the News Managing Editor at Science and also plans and edits news coverage of biology and biomedical topics.