Oppose GM babies, bioethics group says

Mon, 19 Nov 2012

Techniques which would create genetically modified babies should be “urgently opposed”, a bioethics group says.

The Anscombe Bioethics Centre gave the warning as a Government-backed consultation approaches its conclusion.

Commenting on the two techniques being considered, the centre said: “One technique would split genetic motherhood and give the child three genetic parents.

Cloned

“The other technique would produce a child with no genetic parents: a child cloned instead from ‘spare parts’ harvested from earlier living embryos.

“Both techniques would affect not only individuals conceived and born but also their descendants”, it said.

The Centre has produced a briefing on the issue, which can be read here.

Future

The consultation, which is being run by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), closes on the 7th December.

At the launch of the consulation Josephine Quintavalle, of the Comment on Reproductive Ethics campaign group, warned: “This is not about curing disease in an existing human being, it is creating a new kind of embryo and the alterations you have made will pass on to future generations.

“You are playing around with the building blocks and restructuring how human life is created.”

Important

Professor Lisa Jardine, Chair of the HFEA, said: “The Government has asked us to take the public temperature on this important and emotive issue.

“The decision about whether mitochondria replacement should be made available to treat patients is not only an issue of great importance to families affected by these terrible diseases, but is also one of enormous public interest.”

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