Select Committee on Science and Technology Written Evidence

Memorandum 17

Submission from Mary Frances Dysko


  An embryo is a human being from conception, and as such should be treated with the utmost respect. We risk seriously jeopardising the medical and scientific professions through an erosion of this attitude.

  The mixing of human and animal genetic material through the replacement of the nucleus of an animal egg to form a modified gamete, subsequently fertilised by human sperm is one such example—manifesting a breakdown in the perception of value of the human embryo. This is unacceptable as a way of circumnavigating the problem of legal definitions of human embryos and unnecessary from a scientific perspective.

  The said white paper document should be radically modified to underscore a more respectful approach to human beings from conception with considerable emphasis on the scientifically proven fact that the use of embryos for stem cells is, anyway, a manifestly weaker avenue for research than that of using adult stem cells—given that progress in the latter area has been groundbreaking on a tiny percentage of the global funds that destructive embryo research (practically fruitless) has received. What is more, if embryonic stem cells really must be used, these can be derived from both cord blood and amniotic fluid, without the need for human embryo farming.

  Science should be guided by discerning and noble aims and not be reduced to a destructive game to find out anything and everything which is at all possible. We risk repeating serious historical errors if we ignore this principle and will only succeed in obstructing true scientific advance and degrading our perception of human life.

January 2007

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