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Genetic engineering like everything in life can be used either for good or bad. For example, good things would include 1. incorporating into microbes gene segments which would allow them to make antibiotics, insulin and other products useful for healing. 2. Incorporating genes into humans lacking a particular inherited genetic component in order to reverse their pathology. This area has had some limited success and is developing. Bad uses would be 1. to try and engineer super babies in utero.2. use bad gene detection to select for abortion as tragic as this situation is. 3. Use gene detection methods to select for preferred sex in babies or for super babies. There are of course grey areas. For example, GM crops as bad as this may seem to some may prove useful, in feeding the poor, to have crops resistant to drought in poorer countries. IVF is great for infertile couples except where one picks and chooses, using genetics, which are the healthiest embryos and then get rid of the less healthier ones. This is in vitro abortion and not on according to scripture. Stem cell research was scripturally and ethically wrong when human embryos were being used to replace diseased tissue in adults. However stem cells can now be generated from mature adults cells like fibroblasts or skin cells and that is ethically in accord with scripture because these cells will never become babies. Cloning of humans will never become a reality so it is not worth discussion. Cloning Dolly the sheep was really hard work, cloning humans would be orders of magnitude much harder. Dolly had all sorts of medical conditions as she was cloned from adults stem cells with their many mutations. And this would apply to human cloning if it was possible. God in His wonderful provision, allows us to develop methods for improving human health like immunization, drugs, better surgical procedures etc. They can be used for good (eg alleviating pain in cancer patients with morphine) or bad (persons using morphine/heroin to feed their drug addiction).
Most of us, when we hear of GM think of crops or animals being altered genetically. We are told that such modifications will provide more food and reduce pests and weaknesses. It is now a sinister fact that scientists want to produce genetically modified babies - so called 'designer babies'. While most nations have outlawed this, the British Government is actively considering making this practice legal. The regulations are expected to come before the Westminster Parliament soon. It is claimed that the new GM baby techniques will enable women with mitochondrial disease to have a disease-free embryo. It is not a cure for an illness. This involves using an egg supplied by another woman to create an embryo formed from the genetic material of three parents. This would be implanted via IVF. It is strange that while GM crops cannot be grown in the UK because of safety concerns, the British Government is now taking a different view regarding the creation of GM babies. There are many good reasons why this ought not to proceed. The genetic changes will be irreversible and will be passed down to future generations. It has unknown consequences - which is why no other country has legalised these procedures. Many embryos will be destroyed in the process of developing this technique. Human life should be respected, not destroyed and discarded. We have been made in the image of God and are accountable to Him for how we treat one another, especially the unborn - from conception and beyond. (Genesis 1:27) To have dominion over the earth (v28) does not mean that we have the right to 'play God' with His creation. Even the New Scientist, no friend of Christians, has shown that genetic material from a third parent could affect a child's personal characteristics. And the Department of Health's consultation on this matter (2014) shows that 62% of those who responded are opposed to this change in the law. These plans will not actually cure anyone of mitochondrial disease. It will continue to occur randomly within the population. In the meantime valuable resources will be diverted away from ethical cures for genetic diseases such as using donor bone marrow. Even more worryingly these procedures could open the door to human cloning, since the techniques are very similar. Pray that Members of Parliament will become alert to the dangers of allowing this to pass into law and will vote against the Bill if it comes before them. Pray that Christians will be motivated to contact their MPs about this matter. Pray that the plans will be dropped altogether. This is a boundary that should not be crossed. (Source of information: The Christian Institute - www.christian.org.uk)
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