Science in Society Archive

Submission to UK House of Lords Select Committee on Stem Cells

The Institute of Science in Society is a not-for-profit organisation promoting social responsibility and sustainable, ecological approaches in science.

Our position on the related issues of stem cells research, human cloning and germline modification is presented below.

1. We reject any form of reproductive human cloning or human germline modification on grounds that they are,

  • Contrary to universally held principles of human ethics
  • Harmful to the social and moral fabric of civil society
  • Misguided by the flawed science of genetic determinism
  • Inflict unacceptable dangers on individuals and the human species through flawed technologies.

2. We reject ‘therapeutic’ human cloning because it involves the deliberate creation of human embryos for the sole purpose of providing embryonic stem cells, the embryos being sacrificed in the process. This deliberate creation and destruction of human life makes it even more objectionable, in moral terms, than reproductive human cloning. It, too, is misguided by flawed and incomplete scientific knowledge and inflicts unacceptable dangers through flawed technologies.

3. We reject human embryonic stem cell research because embryonic stem cells are already known to be associated with many problems including malignant transformation. The recent disaster involving five Parkinson’s patients receiving fetal cell transplants should serve as a grave warning of the dangers inherent to the technology (The Guardian March 13, 2001). Furthermore, adult stem cells are showing much greater promise in replacement therapy, and there is thus no need at all for embryonic stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

4. We oppose patents associated with human cell lines and genes, and call for publicly-funded research to focus on therapeutic methods that do not involve patented procedures cell lines or genes.

Our detailed arguments are contained in the following articles enclosed:

  1. The unnecessary evil of ‘therapeutic’ human cloning. By Mae-Wan Ho and Joe Cummins, ISIS News 7/8, Feb. 2001
  2. Why clone at all? By Mae-Wan Ho ISIS Report April. 2001
  3. Human embryo research not needed. By Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS News 7/8, Feb. 2001
  4. First GM humans already created. By Joe Cummins and Mae-Wan Ho, ISIS Report, 2 May 2001

Dr. Mae-Wan Ho
Director Institute of Science in Society

Article first published 08/05/01

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