US researchers create hermaphroditic embryo

According to an article from BBC News, which I'm a bit surprised I couldn't find references to anywhere else this morning, US researchers at the Center for Human Reproduction have created an embryo with both male and female characteristics from one male and one female embryo.

The combination was destroyed within five days of its experimental creation, but I can imagine that the discussions about the ethics of this experiment will linger much longer.

The scientists consider that the technique could be used to treat genetic diseases when there are multiple embryos in a womb and one of them is diseased. Through the technique, healthy cells from one embryo would be injected into the unhealthy embryo in order to stamp out the unwanted genetic material.

Other scientists dispute the potential and politicians and activists are calling for all experimentation (including animal experiments) to stop in this area on moral grounds.

I could find no direct comment from the Center, which is a large infertility clinic based in Chicago and New York.