Modifying the genome of human embryos: Medical Academy’s decision raises questions

During the seminar of the Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) which was held in Paris on April 28, 2016, the French National Medical Academy voiced an opinion in favor of developing research on human embryos and reproductive cells. For Alliance VITA, this position which is at the same time vague and worrisome, raises questions and concerns.

The Medical Academy even recommends adapting the necessary texts for the development of this research in France and in Europe.

However, the Academy points out that with the current state of knowledge, it is inconceivable and undesirable to consider clinical applications: that is to say to give birth to an infant from an embryo subjected to in-vitro DNA modifications.

Promoting these research studies already constitutes crossing the red line, the first step on a sliding board towards eugenic and trans-humanistic perspectives. In fact, if the techniques are efficient, and prove in the future that embryos conceived in this manner are viable, there will be a strong temptation to procreate genetically programmed and modified children. Thus they will be life-long guinea pigs for a technique which created them from scratch.

On April 29, during the debates at « Human Gene Editing » in Paris on the use of the CRISPR-CAS9 technique, our country should be at the ethical forefront, as it was for example on major issues such as cloning, and contribute to promote ethical guidelines for research.

ALLIANCE VITA recalls that by the endorsement, given in 2004, for research investigations which cause the destruction of human embryos, the door was opened to practises that were forbidden yesterday and are recommended today. The living human embryo should be protected against all kind of experimentation violating its integrity; because using embryos and then destroying them is contrary to the dignity of all human beings.