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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 22:52 GMT 23:52 UK
Dolly creators eye human embryos
Lab testing
Scientists want to test human embryos
The scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep are to seek permission to carry out experiments on human embryos.

The Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, will apply to the UK Government's fertility authority for a licence within the next couple of months.

They want to investigate ways of harvesting human stem cells which are found in the growing embryo.

Experts believe stem cells have the potential to treat degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.

Dolly came into the world six years ago

The Roslin Institute is also considering how it could apply its technique, cell nuclear replacement, to human embryos.

The scientists propose establishing methods for deriving human embryonic stem cells by using surplus embryos - or embryos created specifically for the purpose by IVF.

Professor Ian Wilmut, head of the institute's gene expression and development division, said: "We will be applying to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority for a licence within the next couple of months.

"It is a significant shift for us and a natural way to go."

Prof Wilmut said the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority may take up to three months to decide on the application.

Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell and came into the world in 1996.

In January, Prof Wilmut confirmed that Dolly had arthritis. He said the condition may have arisen because of genetic defects caused by the cloning process.

See also:

10 Mar 02 | Scotland
Dolly creator to leave Britain
04 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Cloned sheep Dolly has arthritis
04 Jan 02 | UK
Head-to-head: Cloning
04 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
Animal cloning: What is the future?
02 Jan 02 | Sci/Tech
New pig clones born
06 Jul 01 | Sci/Tech
Warning over dangers of cloning
10 Sep 98 | Sci/Tech
How Dolly became a cash cow
21 Dec 97 | Sci/Tech
First there was Dolly...
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