By: Josephine Quintavalle
Very sadly the debate in the House of Commons this afternoon, to approve the licensing regulations which would allow the creation of 3-parent embryos, was carried by 382 to 128 votes.
The debate was concluded in a brisk 90 minutes, to ensure that the allotted 3 hours for the next debate on rural phones and rural connections was not curtailed.
It is hard not to feel despair that so many elected members of Parliament could agree to such a dangerous and unethical re-writing of human biology, no matter how virtuous the end objective of creating children without mitochondrial disease.
We have always argued in favour of seeking cures for mitochondrial disease, but research applications in the United Kingdom will be aimed not a cures but rather at creating a different kind of human embryo hopefully not carrying the condition.
The mother who carries the disease is not cured and nor are the babies to whom the disease is passed on to. And such births would continue randomly.
And completely missing from the debate was any focus on the women who would be expected to contribute their healthy eggs to the procedures, with the considerable ethical issues associated with the harvesting of these.
A sad sad day for both science and ethics in the United Kingdom.