Now the British press is reporting that it looks like the plan will be given the go-ahead.
If this were a matter of just splicing a few human genes into a clearly non-human organism, matters would be different, but it appears that the plan involves the creation of an organism that is 99.9% human (see diagram, left).
Basically, they’re talking about eliminating the nuclear genetic information in an animal (most likely cow) cell and shoving in the nucleus of a human cell, then stimulating the result to develop into an embryo.
It’s true that there is non-nuclear genetic material that is found in cells–in organelles besides the nucleus. For example, you may have heard of mitochondrial DNA (DNA found in the mitochondria, which are not part of the nucleus). The process as described would appear to leave that genetic material intact from the animal providing the ovum.
But I’m sorry, this really looks like creating a human being that has a slight admixture of cow genes, not creating a cow that has a slight admixture of human genes.
As a result, one must err on the side of caution and conclude that such embryos are human beings with the right to life and the British government is planning on murdering them or funding their murder.
The stories in the British press cite polling done of people suggesting that the British public favors the use of embryos in trying to find cures for Parkinson’s and Altzheimer’s.
I bet the pollsters didn’t ask, "Are you in favor of research that involves killing something that might be a human being and that in fact has 99.9% human genetic material."