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WALES: Hybrid embryos approved by MPs; HUMAN CELLS RESEARCH VOTE First stage is passed in face of opposition.

Byline: By SAM LISTER Parliamentary Correspondent

AN attempt to halt government plans to legalise the use of animal-human hybrid embryos for research - branded "Frankenstein science" - was last night defeated in the Commons.

While supporters claim the ground-breaking technique is a potential lifeline for millions of patients with conditions such as Parkinson's disease, cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy, it has attracted significant opposition from religious groups and politicians of all allegiances fearing it is "a step too far".

Secretary of State for Wales Paul Murphy, a devout Catholic, backed an amendment tabled to thwart the rules being relaxed while North Wales MPs were divided on the issue.

But the challenge was comfortably defeated by amajority of 160, paving the way for the proposed laws governing research implanting a human nucleus inside an animal cell section to progress through the parliament.

It was the first of a number of votes over 48 hours on sweeping changes being made to UK laws being made under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.

Earlier Gordon Brown and David Cameron both firmly backed the scientific advances as a means to develop treatments for common conditions that could potentially save millions of lives.

Scientists believe that stem cells harvested from these embryos could provide the key to breakthroughs in the treatment in a number of diseases. Research is currently being held up by the shortage of human eggs to create stem cells.

HealthMinister Dawn Primarolo said hybrid embryos were a "pragmatic" solution to the problem.

She assured MPs: "Any licence application to create a human admix embryo for research will need to prove to the HFEA that the proposed use of the embryo is necessary.

"Not simply that they want to try it as scientists, but that it is necessary and no other route of research will enable the development of the science to understand the development of the treatment."

Tonight MPs will vote on ending the requirement for IVF clinics to consider the "need for a father" when approving fertility treatment and a backbench bid to use the legislation to reduce the upper limit for abortion from 24 weeks.

WAS YOUR MP IN FAVOUR OF RESEARCH?

YES

Martyn Jones (Lab, Clwyd South)

Elfyn Llwyd (Plaid, Meirionnydd Nant Conwy)

Ian Lucas (Lab, Wrexham)

Mark Tami (Lab, Alyn and Deeside)

Mark Williams (Lib Dem, Ceredigion)

Betty Williams (Lab, Conwy)

Hywel Williams (Plaid, Caernarfon)

NO

David Hanson (Lab, Delyn)

Albert Owen (Lab, Ynys Mon)

Chris Ruane (Lab, Vale of Clwyd)

David Jones (Con, Clwyd West)

sam.lister@pa.press.net

CAPTION(S):

The human-animal embryos vote results are announced in the House of Commons; David Hanson
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 20, 2008
Words:437
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