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Chinese scientists become first to alter human embryo DNA

5 May 2015


"[This research] emphasises the need for an immediate global ban on the creation of GM designer babies"

Chinese scientists have confirmed that they are the first in the world to alter the DNA of human embryos. Researchers at the Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou modified the gene responsible for thalassaemia whilst claiming that the engineered embryos were 'non-viable'.

The technique used had previously been tested on adult stem cells and animal cells only. Dr David King of Human Genetics Alert said that it "... emphasises the need for an immediate global ban on the creation of GM designer babies". [Telegraph, 23 April]

Reacting to the news, one eminent pro-life bioethicist commented to SPUC: "If you are allowed to experiment on human embryos there will be many groups of researchers (four already in China) that will not be able to resist the megalomaniacal desire to recreate human beings in what they imagine is in humanity's best interests and according to their own utopian prejudices."

Related story: US National Institutes of Health refuse funding for research modifying human embryos [BBC, 30 April]

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