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A response to the HFEA's decision to allow 'gene editing'

Published: 1st February 2016

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has granted researchers permission to use a new 'gene editing' technique called Crispr/Cas9 to modify human embryos.

Dr Peter Saunders, CEO of Christian Medical Fellowship said:

'There is no justification for carrying out this hugely controversial research, which most leading scientists around the world have agreed is neither safe or practical. The research is based on the highly contentious claim that that it will help to prevent IVF failure and miscarriage. This is disingenuous as there is no evidence that embryonic or fetal death is caused by abnormalities in the genes that Niakan et al are examining.

Despite claims to rigorous ethical evaluation, this decision by the HFEA is also completely out of line with the recent calls by the global research industry for broad public engagement and more time, before any decisions are made on whether to use this new technique to create GM human embryos.

The HFEA has no claim to public approval for this controversial and unnecessary research, and its decision not only pre-empts but completely undermines the public consultation currently being carried out by the Nuffield council on bioethics.'

For further information on this new technique see the following two recent blogposts from CMF:
Philippa Taylor - Designing our descendants: Brave New Britain takes the lead again
Dr Peter Saunders - Claims that GM embryos will help boost IVF success rates are pure spin

For further information:

Philippa Taylor (CMF Head of Public Policy) 020 7234 9664
Steven Fouch (CMF Head of Communications) 020 7234 9668

Media Enquiries:

Alistair Thompson on 07970 162 225

About CMF:

Christian Medical Fellowship (CMF) was founded in 1949 and is an interdenominational organisation with over 4,000 British doctor members in all branches of medicine. A registered charity, it is linked to about 65 similar bodies in other countries throughout the world.

CMF exists to unite Christian doctors to pursue the highest ethical standards in Christian and professional life and to increase faith in Christ and acceptance of his ethical teaching.

Christian Medical Fellowship:
uniting & equipping Christian doctors & nurses
Contact Phone020 7234 9660
Contact Address6 Marshalsea Road, London SE1 1HL
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Registered in England no. 6949436. Registered Charity no. 1131658.
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