MPs slam embryo watchdog for pre-empting Parliament

A number of MPs have criticised the licensing of research using animal-human hybrid embryos before the issue had even been considered by the House of Commons.

In January two teams of scientists were given permission by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) to perform experiments on hybrid embryos.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph the MPs, including Jim Dobbin and Ann Widdecombe, write of their “dismay” at the granting of the licences before the issue has been addressed by the House of Commons.

They point out that there is “no legal framework for the creation of interspecies embryos at present”, describing the HFEA as “an unelected body” that is “pronouncing on issues that have yet to be considered by the democratically elected House of Commons.”

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, due to be debated by the Commons in coming weeks, contains measures to allow the licensing of research using hybrid embryos.

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