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Hybrids and Chimeras Background and Key Impacts

This project was part of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s (HFEA) public and stakeholder consultation on hybrids and chimera embryos. This was carried out to guide the Authority’s recommendations to Government on whether this type of research should be allowed in the future.

The project included a number of dialogue activities to test public opinion and explore how people balance the ethics, risks and benefits of mixing human and animal genetic material.

Aims and objectives

  • Engage stakeholders in the scoping and development of dialogue
  • Undertake a deliberative dialogue process with a diverse set of the public which aligned with the Government’s Guiding Principles for Public Dialogue on Science and Technology
  • Capture, analyse and report the results of the dialogue to inform policy recommendations.

The results of the public dialogue were fed into the wider stakeholder consultation, which resulted in the HFEA announcing on 5 September 2007 that, having taken account of all views, it had decided to allow hybrid/chimera embryo research in principle, under strict guidelines. The Authority then went on to grant licence applications from researchers at two UK universities to carry out research using hybrid/chimera embryos.

Key Impacts

  • The results of the public dialogue were fed into the wider stakeholder consultation, which resulted in the HFEA announcing on 5 September 2007 that, having taken account of all views, it had decided to allow hybrid/chimera embryo research in principle, under strict guidelines.
  • The Authority then went on to grant licence applications from researchers at two UK universities to carry out research using hybrid/chimera embryos.


This project was funded through a grant to the commissioning agent to provide input into a live policy area.