posted on Jun, 13 2003 @ 06:32 PM
Bees do it, ants do it, and so apparently did the Goddess Athena. Parthenogenesis - Greek for "virgin birth" - could now allow British scientists to
create human embryos from unfertilised eggs.
Athena was perhaps the first mythical character to undergo parthenogenesis, having emerged fully formed from the forehead of her father, Zeus. Hence
her temple on the Acropolis is called The Parthenon.
Yesterday, Britain's fertility watchdog gave approval for scientists to create human embryos using a parthenogenetic process, in a landmark
experiment that could pave the way for human cloning.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) granted a licence to the Roslin Institute, near Edinburgh, to use human eggs and embryos to
generate embryonic stem cells which could be used to produce the specialised tissues of the body.
Professor Ian Wilmut, the scientist who cloned Dolly the sheep, will lead the Roslin team in its attempts to "activate" human eggs so that they
develop into early embryos without first being fertilised by sperm cells.