At 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.