The Senate narrowly rejected an amendment to criminalize participation in research that created certain chimaeras, or human-animal hybrids, in the hopes that the federal government could lift a moratorium on funding for such projects.
A party line vote saw 48 Republicans backing the measure. The 49 no included 47 Democrats and two left-wing independents – Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., And Angus King, I-ME. The senses. Thom Tillis, RN.C., Joe Manchin, DW.Va., and Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Did not vote.
Proposed this week, the Endless Frontier Act also contained language prohibiting the transfer of a human embryo to a non-human uterus and vice versa.
“We shouldn’t need to clarify in law that the creation of animal-human hybrids or ‘chimeras’ is ethically unthinkable, but unfortunately the need for this very clear distinction has arrived,” said Senator James Lankford, R-Okla., Who co-sponsored the bill with Sense. Mike Braun, R-Ind., And Steve Daines, R-Mont.
STANFORD HAS NOT DISCLOSED FUNDING FOR RESEARCH USING FETAL TISSUES IN MICE, THE GROUP ALLEGES IN NIH COMPLAINT
Braun said: “Human life is distinct and sacred, and research which creates an animal-human hybrid or transfers a human embryo into the womb of an animal or vice versa should be banned altogether, and engage in any further development. such unethical experiments should be a crime. “
The legislation would impose fines of up to $ 1 million or “the amount equal to twice the amount of the gross pecuniary gain”. It also provided for up to 10 years in prison.
The bill sought to verify whether the National Institutes of Health (NIH) potentially lifted their moratorium on research using chimeras.
On Wednesday, the International Society for Stem Cell Research released guidelines supporting chimeric research.
“Research on the chimeric embryo and in utero … should continue for the minimum time necessary to achieve the scientific objective,” indicate the guidelines of the organization.
“This research should be continued gradually, stopping at well-defined times to assess the degree and extent of chimerism during development before moving on to full gestation, if full gestation is one of the well-justified goals of the research. To avoid unpredictable and widespread chimerism, researchers should strive to use targeted chimerism strategies to limit the chimerism to a particular organ system or region of the chimeric pregnant animal. “
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Thursday’s vote came against the backdrop of a growing debate over the use of fetal tissue in scientific research.
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania legislature held hearings to discuss, in part, the fetal tissue practices of the University of Pittsburgh. Amid a heated debate over fetal cell lines and COVID-19 vaccines, a Pitt study has drawn attention to fetal scalp transplantation in mice.
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