Call for genetic modification of embryonic babies rejected
10 September 2015
Geneticists who want to try manipulating the genes of embryos to see if they can prevent diseases are acting as if they did not know how complex diseases like cancer are, says the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC).
Responding to the call by the Hinxton genetics group, Paul Tully, SPUC's general secretary said: "It is dishonest to trick people into thinking that because a technique can sometimes achieve a precise genetic change, we have the solution to cancer, HIV or other potentially fatal diseases within our grasp. This simply is not the case. Genetics is far more complex than that.
"The humanity of the early embryo is more fully recognised than ever, yet instead of compassion towards the early human person, abuses continue on an industrial scale. The new person is genetically complete, human and alive from the time of conception. Using these embryos for research and destroying them breaches norms of human rights and medical ethics.
"The fact that leading scientists want to tear up agreed international codes of practice should lead journalists to question their motives. The past 25 years of human embryo research are littered with the broken promises of scientists", Mr Tully added.
The 1997 Oviedo Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine prohibits genetic modifications intended to be passed on to descendants (article 13).
For more detailed comments or an interview with Paul Tully, please contact Anthony Ozimic, SPUC's Media Manager, on: