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Scientists 'changing the face of the human race'

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A further push towards the creation of 'three-parent, genetically-modified' children has been described as "playing God" and "changing the face of the human race."

Andrea Williams, chief executive of Christian Concern, made the comments in response to research published today (08 JUN) in the journal Nature, that was heralded by some scientists as a further step toward licensing of the 'three-parent baby' technique. 

'Ethical not technical'

Andrea Williams said:

"The real issue at stake here is not technical but moral and ethical.

"Last year the UK became the first country in the world to allow, in principle, the creation of 'three-parent, genetically-modified children.

"This latest experiment is a another step towards women actually giving birth to children whose altered genetic code will be passed down the generations.

'Passed down the generations'

"Permanent modifications will be passed down the genetic line, affecting all future generations. This is mass-scale, genetic experiment being conducted on human beings, without their consent.

"Even in light of the UK's generally cavalier approach to bioethics, this should be an uncrossable line.

"The relentless push by a small group of scientists raises huge issues for future generations and goes to the heart of who we are as humans.

"It is a direct challenge to our identity and dignity as human beings.

'One of us'

"Simply put, the human embryo that is being experimented upon, is one of us.

"This research is not life-enhancing but life-destroying.

"Mitochondrial diseases can have terrible effects and all of us want to help those who are affected by them. But it is not ethical to destroy human life or 'engineer away' those who carry the diseases. This research does not propose a cure and it diverts resources from finding one.

"Instead countless, tiny human beings are being destroyed in the quest to alter the make-up of another.

"We must remember the history of other controversial techniques, such as animal-human hybrids and human cloning. Much was promised but nothing delivered, except suffering, disappointment and the waste of millions of pounds that could have been spent on ethical research.


"These scientists are playing God, changing the face of the human race and undermining the pattern for family and human dignity that God has given to us.

"There is no way of accurately predicting the consequences, but future generations will be forced to endure them. No wonder that, for so many in the international scientific community, this is a line that shouldn't be crossed.

"We have set out on a dangerous path, on which 'designer babies' and even eugenics could prove to be much closer than we pretend." 

Serious ethical considerations 

Following the report on pro-nuclear transfer, several have expressed further concerns about the technique, warning that there are still potential risks and "serious" ethical considerations.

Dr Peter Saunders of the Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) says this is a boundary that "should not have been crossed", and CMF's Philippa Taylor warns that the technique may not fully eradicate faulty mitochondria. Paul Knoepfler also discusses this concern on his blog.