Select Committee on Science and Technology

No. 34 of Session 2006-07 26 April 2007


Chairman of the Science and Technology Committee Phil Willis today (Thursday) welcomes the decision by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority to hold a public consultation into the regulation of hybrid and chimera embryos.

"We welcome this consultation in this important and difficult area as it raises many ethical and moral issues. We would like to see as much public involvement and engagement in this decision as possible," he said.

In its recent report on Government proposals for the regulation of hybrid and chimera embryos, the Science and Technology Committee found the Government's proposals to prohibit the creation of human-animal chimera or hybrid embryos for research to be unacceptable and potentially harmful to UK science.

The Committee felt that in the interests of science, the public and the UK, the current applications by King's College, London and Newcastle University should be considered by the HFEA promptly and with due process.

For media inquiries or interviews with the Chairman, please call Laura Kibby on 020 7219 0718.

The full text of the Science and Technology Committee report published on April 5 is available via the Committee's website:

Notes to editors:

€ The Committee's inquiry was prompted by the coincidence of proposals from the Government for inclusion in its forthcoming draft Bill on the creation of human-animal chimera or hybrid embryos for research purposes with recent applications by scientists to the Human and Embryology Authority (HFEA) for licences to create specific types of such embryos for use in the derivation of stem cells.

€ The inquiry into was announced on 10 January 2007 in press notice No 11 of session 2006-07.

Membership of the Committee

Mr Phil Willis (Lib Dem, Harrogate and Knaresborough)(Chairman)
Adam Afriyie (Con, Windsor)
Mr Robert Flello (Lab, Stoke-on-Trent South)
Linda Gilroy (Lab/Co-op, Plymouth Sutton)
Dr Evan Harris (Lib Dem, Oxford West & Abingdon)
Dr Brian Iddon (Lab, Bolton South East)
Chris Mole (Lab, Ipswich)
Mr Brooks Newmark (Con, Braintree)
Graham Stringer (Lab, Manchester, Blackley)
Bob Spink (Con, Castle Point)
Dr Desmond Turner (Lab, Brighton Kemptown)