… and creating GM embryos
News that American scientists had created a genetically modified human embryo leaked out over the weekend. Scientists at Cornell University in New York created one from a left-over IVF embryo last year to study how early cells and diseases develop. They presented their findings long ago to a meeting of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine. However the media only caught wind of it when it was mentioned in a report from the UK’s fertility regulator, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority.
The HFEA may have drawn attention to the Cornell experiment to reassure the public over the possibility that British scientists could soon be conducting similar experiments. Provisions in the UK’s proposed new fertility legislation will allow GM embryos for research.
Dr David King, of Human Genetics Alert, an opponent of the legislation commented: "This is the first step on the road that will lead to the nightmare of designer babies and a new eugenics. … I have been speaking to MPs all week and no one knows that the government is legalising GM embryos. The public has had enough of scientists sneaking these things through and then presenting us with a fait accompli." And in the US, the Center for Genetics and Society denounced the experiment as trespassing on a key ethical boundary without discussion by the public, media or policy makers.
The Cornell embryo, by the way, was destroyed after five days, not implanted in a womb. A small mercy, perhaps, as the scientists had inserted a gene to make it glow green in the dark. ~ London Sunday Times, May 11;
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