UK regulators pave the way for scientists to create babies with cellular material from three people
Fertility regulators in the UK have paved the way for the introduction of a radical form of gene therapy in which babies are created using cellular material from three people.
The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) advised the government recently that there is no evidence “mitochondrial replacement” – an advanced form of in-vitro fertilisation – is unsafe, and ministers will now decide whether to proceed with the technique.
Critics say the move is the first step on a slippery slope towards the creation of “designer babies” built to order that heralds a new era of “consumer eugenics” – with potentially disastrous implications for humankind.
“There has been a consensus for some time in about 50 or 60 countries that we should not manipulate the human ‘germline’ – that is, the cells that give rise to a new individual,” said Dr David King, director of the group Human Genetics Alert.
“This is the first time that there has been official approval for crossing that line and, once you cross the Rubicon, it becomes difficult not to move to the next stage – full-fledged enhancement, genetic engineering.”
Bioethicists have been dismissive of these concerns, and Jardine has insisted the therapy would be used only for mitochondrial disorders.
“This is not a Rubicon or a slippery slope,” Jardine told a recent public meeting.
John Harris, professor of bioethics at the University of Manchester, argues what HFEA is recommending is merely that the scope of the permitted use of reproductive technologies be widened.
“Every parent wishes for a healthy child and if wish fulfillment were a form of eugenics, then eugenics would be universal,” Harris said.
“Really one can consider this technology as a way of fulfilling that wish in a very limited range of cases, where a future child would almost certainly have mitochondrial disease. So it’s a very limited door that is being opened. I don’t believe in slippery slopes – it is a false fear.”
“babies are created using cellular material from three people.”
this is like frankenbabies isnt it?
am i reading this right?..they use 3 peoples cellular material to make one baby?..this world is going to hell real quick..why are we doing this?
~ by seeker401 on April 7, 2013.