Thursday, 20 September 2007

Culture of death continues...what was once the nightmare of science fiction becomes dismissively approved by governments and alleged 'ethicists'.

The conspirators with the murder of the Unborn are progressing rapidly with their Chimera agenda to the extent of publishing research applications and requesting public comment on the issue [deadline 1/11/07]

Mac on has a lot more details ; but you can see for yourself at

Meanwhile it seems appropriate to publish the statement made by the Linacre Centre [even though I have a few [minor?] reservations ; it's better than anything coming out of any other contemporary ethics institute in this country] :

Linacre Centre Submission to the Science and Technology Committee Inquiry
into Government Proposals for the Regulation of Hybrid and Chimera Embryos

1.The Linacre Centre for Healthcare Ethics is a bioethics research institute under
the trusteeship of the Catholic Trust for England and Wales. We publish material, run
conferences and provide speakers on a range of bioethical issues, and also offer advice
and information to individual scientists, health professionals and patients. This
Submission has been prepared on behalf of the Centre by Dr Helen Watt, the Director of
the Centre, and Anthony McCarthy, its Research Fellow.

2.We welcome the opportunity to respond to the Science and Technology
Committee’s Inquiry into Government Proposals for the Regulation of Hybrid and
Chimera Embryos. Our concerns in this area relate not only to respect for the lives of
human embryos who may be created (in some cases, by destroying other human
embryos), but to respect for the value and meaning of human procreation. Such respect
can, we believe, be violated by substantial human contributions to the production even of
embryos - or embryo-like entities - which are clearly non-human. However, it is more
seriously violated by contributions to an embryo who is - or may well be - human, and
who is deprived of human parents, for whom is substituted an animal progenitor.

3.The destruction of embryos is our most serious concern: we are opposed to all
research involving a lethal attack on a human moral subject, of any age or stage of
development. In the words of the Declaration of Helsinki, ‘In research on man, the
interest of science and society should never take precedence over considerations related
to the wellbeing of the subject’ (III.4). A human subject is nothing more or less than a
living human organism (which is not to say that this organism is reducible to its various
physical parts). The human subject has objective rights and interests in his or her
wellbeing and survival: rights and interests which relate to the special nature of the
rational human kind. Such rights and interests are present in young children, and indeed
embryos and foetuses, who have a moral stake (albeit an unconscious stake) in their own
wellbeing as members of the human kind, no less than older human subjects.

4.Human beings can be created in other ways than fertilization: for example, by
embryo splitting or cell nuclear transfer – including, perhaps, cell nuclear transfer using
a non-human ovum. Such new methods of creating embryos give rise to new ethical
concerns. While we are opposed to all research on embryos, this is not to say that a ban
on particular forms of embryo research is not also highly desirable: there are various
levels at which the human (or possibly human) embryo can be harmed or degraded.

5.It is difficult to know whether some novel techniques will result in a genuine
human embryo. In view of this, it is a matter of basic moral prudence to avoid creating
an embryo who may well be human – that is, whose moral status is ambiguous. This
problem is in no way solved by destroying the embryo, whether at 14 days or at 5:
abuse of human subjects is not cancelled by the greater abuse of ending the subject’s life.

6.If the embryo is, indeed, human, there is a particular wrong that has been done to
it, apart from the wrong of creating it for the sole purpose of research, or even the wrong
of creating it deliberately disabled (as in the case of some cloned embryos) so as to study the disease process and/or test the efficacy of certain drugs. Serious as these wrongs are,
there is an additional wrong in the case of animal-human hybrids, in that the embryo’s
dignity is violated by the very structure of its creation.

7.Again, this is not simply because the embryo is the product of a manufacturing
process – though this is itself a serious offence against the embryo’s dignity. Embryos
manufactured as if they were products are particularly likely to be viewed and treated as
products; indeed, they are sometimes explicitly referred to as products, as in the
Government’s White Paper itself. However, the embryo made from animal components
is still further alienated from any possibility of parental respect or protection, in that this
embryo may have literally no human parents.

8.Take the case of an embryo who is conceived via transfer of an adult somatic cell
nucleus to an animal ovum from which the nucleus has been removed. Like any clone,
such an embryo has no true genetic parents; moreover it lacks even the fractional
element of genetic motherhood found in a woman’s provision of an enucleated ovum.
The embryo’s quasi-mother is not, in this case, a woman who donates a ‘gutted’ ovum to
its formation, but is, instead, a non-human animal. The hybrid embryo would be even
more isolated from the human community than other clone embryos (this is not, however,
to ignore the serious ethical problems inherent in ovum donation, both in terms of risks to
women’s health and in terms of lack of respect for the parental role such donation

9.An embryo may be created in other ways – for example, by fusing existing human
embryos or embryonic cell lines with non-human cells. Again, resulting embryos will
For reflection on what would identify an embryo as human, see H.Watt, ‘Embryos and
Pseudoembryos: Parthenotes, Reprogrammed Oocytes and Headless Clones’, forthcoming in the
Journal of Medical Ethics (available online at
We are referring here to cloned human embryos created precisely in order to have a genetic
disability which can then be studied in their cells. Of course, cloning itself creates serious
genetic abnormalities, which again poses questions about the usefulness for treatment or research of cells derived from clones – even those with no animal components.
Thus the White Paper on Review of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act refers at 9.31
to ‘ other human-animal cell fusion products’ (the implication being that hybrid or chimera
embryos are themselves products, depite their putative humanity).
The nucleus provider is likely to feel a sense of ownership, not parental responsibility, over the
cloned embryo, who may be perceived as a mere product of his or her cells.
have no human parents, even in the fractional sense of the woman who provides the
mitochondrial DNA and other parts of an enucleated human ovum. It is easy to see how
a human chimera may be treated with less respect than embryos who have human parents,
given the low status attributed – in our view wrongly – to its embryonic progenitor (this
progenitor may itself be seen as having barely more status than the animal embryo with
which its cells are combined). More importantly, the chimera’s creation will require the
destruction of a pre-existing embryo, whether in the course of the experiment itself, or in
the production of the embryonic cell-line from which the new embryo is created. To be
deliberately formed from the bodily remains of another human embryo is, again, an
offense to the dignity of the embryo created, as well as that of the earlier embryo in
whose death the scientist is already complicit.

10.It is true that many chimera or hybrid embryos may not, in fact, be human
embryos, even if human embryonic cells are used to create them.Leaving aside the risk
of creating human embryos, and assuming that such embryos would not be created, we
believe the production of hybrids and chimeras can still offend against human dignity.
Such production seems at once too close to, and too far removed from, normal human
procreation – as can be seen from the intuitions of many members of the public when
considering the morality of trans-species fertilization, even where no human embryo will

11.It should be remembered that animal-human hybrids and chimeras are in any case
likely to be of limited scientific value, due to the abnormal nature of their cells. They are
unlikely to provide any treatments for patients, in view of the medical risks which they
carry: risks not limited to the transmission of animal viruses to humans. It should be
remembered that mitochondrial problems are a key factor in many neurodegenerative
diseases; there would also be particular risks if hybrid cells were used to treat heart or
liver complaints, for which cloning has been proposed as a solution.
Rather than pursue such a clinical dead-end, there should be further investment in adult stem cell research, which is morally acceptable to the vast majority of patients and clinicians worldwide, and has already produced treatments for 72 conditions to date.

12.We would urge that the creation of animal-human hybrids and chimeras be
prohibited not merely for the time being (as the Government’s White Paper proposes) but
We are not objecting to the addition of insignificant amounts of human genetic material to some
non-human organism. In such a case – unlike a case where human sperm or a human nucleus is
used to ‘fertilise’ an animal ovum – it cannot be said that the human material is substituting for
animal gametes. Such interventions therefore seem sufficiently removed from human
procreation to be ethically acceptable - always assuming the human genetic material comes from an ethical (in practice, non-embryonic) source, and will make only a minor contribution to the animal to which it is transferred.

For the foreseeable future. The importation of hybrids and chimeras from abroad should
also be prohibited, as should any commercialization of these or other human (or
potentially human) embryos. Such prohibitions are well within the proper scope of law,
given the importance of the values – respect for human life and human parenthood –
which they would acknowledge and protect. Any scientific or commercial gains from
hybrids or chimeras are likely to be of small importance; not so the massive offence to
human dignity any such research would display.

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