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Britain OKs Hybrids, Won't Fund Them

The stem cell community is stirred up with the news that after all the trouble U.K. scientists went to to persuade the government to let them make "hybrid" embryos, they can't

get funding to do the work. The technique offers a potential way to generate genetically tailored cells without destroying human embryos. Three groups got licenses last year to cultivate embryos by inserting human DNA into animal eggs. Last fall, two of them failed to get funding for the work. The third group hasn't applied yet (subscription required).

From The Independent:

People reviewing grants may be looking at this from a completely different moral perspective and how much that has influenced people's perception about whether this should be funded, we don't know," said Professor Stephen Minger of King's College London.

Minger (pictured) told Science, however, that he thinks the "very competitive funding environment" led to the decision by the Medical Research Council reviewers. He also points out that his group would have needed £100,000, a major investment for the U.K. government, just for equipment.