Monday, October 18, 2004

The Road to Genetic Engineering

BABIES could be born with a third biological parent under planned research by British scientists to prevent mothers passing degenerative genetic diseases to their children.

Newcastle University
experts want to implant part of an embryo taken from an affected mother in an egg from another woman to ensure the child is free from such conditions. . .

The Newcastle scientists plan to take the nucleus of an embryo from an affected mother and place it in a donated egg that has had its nucleus removed. They believe this would prevent the growing foetus from being infected with disease through defects in the DNA of mitochrondria, the "powerhouse" of cells that convert food into energy.

Mitochondrial genes are inherited through the mother, who may pass on the disease. . .

The Roman Catholic Church in Scotland condemned the plans. Peter Kearney, the director of the Catholic Media Office, said: "This transforms the embryo’s components into commodities to be disposed of or experimented on, which seems to utterly ignore the humanity of the embryo. In addition, people living with these disorders are inevitably going to find themselves less accepted by a society capable of eliminating their kind from the human gene pool in future."

Dr David King, director of Human Genetics Alert, said: "By creating a child with three genetic parents, these scientists are taking the first step towards genetic engineering of human beings. . .

However, Paul Preston, of the Children’s Mitochondrial Disease Network, said there could be great benefits. "Anybody who has to live with a child that is unaware of the environment he lives in, who cannot move and can only eat or drink through a tube does not realise the suffering caused by such diseases. This is not about genetic engineering but about stopping children suffering."
Sure, people may not understand the suffering of children who live in that state of being, but there is such a thing as NOT having children when you are genetically disposed to passing on degenerative genetic diseases. If you want children, adopt.


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