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Four Things You Can Do To Help Stop the Creation of Genetically-Modified Kids

geneticengineeringAt a time when more and more people are becoming wary of generically-modified foods in their diet, the United Kingdom is poised to begin creating genetically-modified children with the genetic material of three people, two women and one man; a genetic combination that could not occur naturally.And the way the UK goes, the United States may soon  follow.

The average person may feel totally overwhelmed by the science and helpless to do anything about it. Unfortunately, we cannot stick our heads in the sand and do nothing. If we ignore this problem it will not go away. If we stay silent we will live in an insane world where people won’t eat genetically-modified food, but will turn a blind eye to genetically altering the next generation.

There are things you can do:

1. Educate yourself. Learn about the three-parent embryo technique and how it is a germ-line genetic engineering technique similar to cloning.

2. Share news stories about the creation of three-parent embryos in your social media. Tell people that there is more to consider than just what is on the surface. This is the genetic-engineering of human beings that will affect generations. Also, it is not just being proposed to help mitochondrial disease, a very serious, sometimes fatal, condition, but it has also already been proposed as a treatment for infertility. If your friends are wary eating of GMO foods, they should find this terrifying.

3. Tell people that this technique has not been proven to be safe in animals or humans. There are excellent statements by scientists who are concerned about the safety of the technique here, here and here that you can share. These scientists are rightly concerned that the invasive nature of the procedure will do more harm than good. Get people thinking about what happens when something goes wrong. Will abortion be the “back-up” plan for any baby not developing normally?

4. Sign this petition to the UK House of Lords, the next stop on the approval route, urging them to reject any germ-line genetic modification of human embryos. I bet if this was the introduction of a new genetically-modified food to the grocery shelves it would easily have hundreds of thousands of signatures. Challenge yourself and your friends to show the same concern for the creation of GMO kids.


Rebecca Taylor is a clinical laboratory specialist in molecular biology, and a practicing pro-life Catholic who writes at the bioethics blog Mary Meets Dolly. She has been writing and speaking about Catholicism and biotechnology for six years and is a regular on Catholic radio.
  • Shootist

    Uh? Why would I want to “stop the creation of genetically modified humans”.

    They won’t have diabetes or Down’s Syndrome, or color blindness, or cystic fibrosis or Haemophilia or Fragile X, or Sickle Cell Anemia or Neurofibromatosis. The list is long.

    They will have greater intelligence and be generally healthier. Barring accident they will live longer and healthier lives. They won’t suffer as badly from depression or other mental illnesses.

    I don’t see a down side (and neither I suspect does a loving God).

    • Terri K

      So all of a sudden, today, science will start pumping out perfect babies without any down side? I suggest you do some research.

      • Shootist

        Science will do as science always does. First they will make babies sickle cell free and save a few millions from misery. Maybe in the meantime a few more blue eyed babies are born than otherwise would have been.

        The Salk live polio vaccine killed many and maimed many more. It kept millions from getting polio. Should we take away his Nobel and go back in time and give polio to all those saved by the vaccine?

        • Terri K

          You do recognize and acknowledge the down side. You’ve apparently decided that some babies are disposable and others are worth keeping, based on the whims of the adults who have power over them.

        • Terri K

          I don’t think it’s prudent to compare germ line manipulation to vaccine development either. They’re completely different technologies. Developing the polio vaccine didn’t involve the necessity of creating and then discarding “defective” human beings. Moreover, even when subjects had to live with last disabilities, the disabilities were not genetic and therefore passed to all successive generations.

          • Shootist

            No? I think it eminently fair to compare world changing progress (advancement) that has/had potential for harm.

            No one is going to uninvent fire just because millions have died from it or been maimed by it.

          • Terri K

            Well, actually, when you read the research, the best indicators for infectious disease are sanitation and nutrition. The whole vaccine thing is highly politicized. In that respect, these two issues are related.

            There was no human germ line manipulation involved in creating a vaccine. The ramifications of changing the germ line are completely unknown at this point as well as the risks involved in changing the very thing (DNA) which makes us human. It assaults the dignity of humanity in a literal manner.

            Vaccines were/are developed (speciously, perhaps, in some cases) to preserve human life. Germ line manipulation is transhumanism. It’s underlying philosophy is that being human is substandard, that it needs “improving.” It is a philosophy that assumes humanity has no inherent dignity and that it needs to be managed and engineered in the same manner as livestock.

            This is the danger, this underlying philosophy which has no boundaries of decency or morality. In the end it is a “might makes right” philosophy wherein those who have the technology and the means to impose it exercise full tyranny over the powerless, in this case human beings who are conceived with needles and microscopes in laboratories. Even worse than IVF, however, this germ line manipulation will effect all successive generations as well.

          • Shootist

            yawning now.

          • Greg Price

            And when the results of that progress decide that their “superior” genes entitle them to rule over YOUR “inferior” ones?

            Superior ability breeds superior ambitions.

          • Shootist

            Nothing to do with “progress” really. If man can do a thing, a man will do that thing.

          • Greg Price

            Not if other men band together and forbid it. As we should in many cases, including this one.

          • Shootist

            At best, this will delay. The US banded together to stop the USSR from getting the hydrogen bomb. That worked for a couple of years.

        • Greg Price

          Polio vaccine =/= genegineeried babies.

          Try again.

          • Shootist

            You don’t get it do you? The Russians or the Chinese or the purple people eaters don’t share your ethics, will never share your ethics, but they do have access to the same science you do.

          • Greg Price

            So? That doesn’t mean WE should do it. Ultimately we may not be able to stop the Russians, or the Chinese, or whoever, but WE do not have to do as they do.

          • Shootist

            I never said WE should do, or not do, only that it will be done and while IT might be delayed, cannot be stopped..

    • goral

      Reminds me of the car commercial that had a lady thinking out loud – if it wasn’t a good car, then why would I buy so many of them?!
      We already went through an episode in history where a master race was being designed with God’s blessing.

      • Shootist

        Non sequitur. Arsonist start fires, we are not going to ban fire.

        • Pax

          but the question is weather someone who is trying to create a new human being is an arsonist? Aka are they using the science in a moral and good way. Are they actually helping people? Or are they doing damage to their fellow man, and the whole human race for that matter. Burning down the house so to speak. I don’t think there is a question as to weather the use of genetic techniques are moral. They are a tool and as such can only be morally neutral. The question you haven’t addressed is why you believe a technology that inherently kills people every time it is used can ever be moral?

          • Shootist

            No. The question is what to do when potentially dangerous technology becomes commonplace. Placing that technology in a super secret vault and uninventing is not the answer.

          • Pax

            obviously not. human cloning , however is not a technology, it is the application of a technology. So where as no one would propose banning fire ( a technology) , it is perfectly reasonable to ban arson ( the application of a technology). In the same sense there
            are various good reasons to consider using genetic engineering and research, but any process that involves the creation and destruction of human beings a is morally wrong application of that technology.

          • Shootist

            cloning isn’t a technology? neither are lightbulbs

          • Pax

            hmmm…

            when i use the word technology I mean this:

            “the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science”

            you appreantly mean this
            “the application of this knowledge for practical ends.”

            however, by your definition, electroshock theropy, frontal lobotamy, medical abortion , neclear war , IFV, nerve gas , agent organge, ddt are all technologies. Would say all of them are moral and good to use?
            I don’t think the objection in this article, and espcially my own objections are to cloning per se, ( for instance cloning plants and animals). It is specifically to the cloning of human beings.

          • Shootist

            application of knowledge for practical ends . . . isn’t that exactly how knowledge should be applied?

            Specifically on cloning. That knowledge set will be needed to grow new organs and limbs. A worthy endeavor.

          • Pax

            There is no reason to believe the knowledge set would be inherently hampered by not murdering people. Even if it was slowed or hampered in some way there is no justification for treating human beings and experimental fodder. There are many very interesting psychology/ sociological experiments that cannot be performed regardless of how useful the information they would gather would because they would involve killing , maiming or causing excessive Post traumatic stress to human beings.

          • Terri K

            Exactly. When we deny the inherent dignity of a class of human beings, we endanger every human being. It’s Josef Mengele in the 21st century.

          • Greg Price

            Just because you invent a hammer doesn’t mean you have to go around hitting things with it.

            As a great writer once wrote: “We’ve become so obsessed with whether or not we CAN do something we haven’t stopped to consider whether we SHOULD…”

          • Shootist

            You cannot put the genie back in the bottle. There is no “whether we should”. If it can be done, it will be done.

          • Greg Price

            Wrong. Otherwise we would have 10s of millions of shootings every day since there are 10s of millions (or more) firearms in private hands all around the world.

            We don’t. Because we have the wisdom (as I pointed out) to CHOOSE NOT TO USE that which we have created.

          • Shootist

            Perhaps the demand for shootings isn’t a great as you think?

    • Pax

      because it is objectifies human beings and makes them commodities. Making babies in a laboratory is wrong for the same reason slavery is wrong. People are ‘things’ to be be ‘manufactured’ any more then they are ‘things’ to be sold. The problem with test tube babies is once you decide we can treat people as ‘things’ , then why not buy and sell those ‘things’ as property?

      Also, if you think a loving God allow and to some extent intent suffering in the word I would suggest you look at a crucifix for a while and contemplate the verses:

      “He was wounded for our transgressions and crushed for our inequities”

      and

      “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”

      Suffering is not the enemy and is not evil , in and of itself. It is often necessary and can be redemptive.

      • Shootist

        no more commodification than a university education

        • Pax

          that is a wholly different topic and another thing that is in great need of serious overhaul.

  • NMBarry

    The commentary like what’s on this post, as well as many in the secular media, demonstrate the need to educate and present the empirical data in the correct context. Crossing the line into nuclear DNA (nDNA) manipulation is still illegal in most countries, including the UK. This technique addresses mutations in the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). The laundry list of diseases this procedure will “cure” is not at all what’s been presented in the proponents argument for this agenda, yet those in the secular media have erroneously thrown them into the equation. To be clear, the number of actual candidates is far less than the reported 1:5000, the number that is being used by proponents to gain the sympathy of the uneducated public. True, 1 in 5,000 births, the individual MAY develop a mitochondrial disease, but that’s not how many babies are born with a mtDNA defect driven disease. That number, if you get into the actual data, represents those who may develop a mito disease over their life-time (including those who will come into contact with mitochondrial toxicity, such as medications and other environmental toxins). And this technique ONLY addresses mtDNA mutation diseases, and does not address crossing into the forbidden zone of nDNA diseases. Having said that, do you know that MOST mitochondrial diseases that present in infants and children are in fact nDNA based? So, when you break down the statistical evidence, only a few hundred would be actual candidates. Truly, do you honestly believe investors will recover their investments and make a profit off of so few? Absolutely not. To fail to see this as the Trojan horse is truly baffling. If Catholics really want to be heard, they need to understand what’s really being manipulated here.