MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man.
The technique would be used to prevent mitochondrial disease, which may lead to brain damage, muscle wasting, heart failure and blindness.
It uses a modified version of IVF to combine the DNA of the two parents with the healthy mitochondria of a donor woman.
This results in babies with 0.1% of their DNA from the second woman and is a permanent change that would be passed down through the generations.
MPs were given a free vote, because this was a matter of conscience rather than political allegiance, and supported the introduction of the technique by 328 votes in favour, with 128 against, taking into account support from British Nobel Prize-winning scientists and 40 leading scientists from 14 countries.
However, the Catholic and Anglican Churches in England said the idea was not safe or ethical, not least because it involved the destruction of embryos.
This writer has doubts about it, too. Knee-jerk reaction was that this is eugenics – genetically engineering “better” human beings. But why should that be a bad thing if it doesn’t involve the deaths of people who were arbitrarily deemed inferior (as was the case with the Nazis)?
It is also interfering with nature – and do we really know what the results are going to be? There are unanswered questions.
That being said, if the technique exists, does anybody have the right to stop another person from using it – if the alternative is to have a child with disabilities and the attendant implications on quality-of-life?
Let’s have a poll.
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