A group of Italian politicans have slammed the idea of three-parent babies
The stern warning comes after MPs in Britain voted overwhelmingly in favour of the controversial technique of mitochondrial donation – which would allow children to be conceived with genetic material from a trio of individuals.
In a strongly worded letter to The Times, the Italian Mps wrote that the legalisation of such a technique “could have uncontrollable and unforeseeable consequences, affecting future generations and modifying genetic heritage in an irreversible way, inevitably affecting the human species as a whole”.
The letter also argues that “the greater part of the scientific community maintain that the scientific data currently available is insufficient to even consider intervention on human subjects, and there cannot therefore be any guarantee for the safety of any eventual off-spring”.
Fifty MEPs have also written to David Cameron
Nancy Lee, the senior policy adviser at Wellcome Trust, said: “It is not true that the global scientific community is opposed to mitochondrial donation.
“In fact, 40 of the world’s leading scientists and ethicists in the field, from 14 countries, regularly urged the UK to back regulations allowing the technique and a different expert group including five Nobel laureates have written to The Times to express their support.
“While it is never possible to be 100 per cent certain that any new medical procedure is safe when first used in humans, three expert scientific reviews have found no safety reasons not to proceed.”
The greater part of the scientific community maintain that the scientific data currently available is insufficient to even consider intervention on human subjects
Mitochondrial donation techniques aimed at preventing serious inherited diseases will now be legalised, subject to any amendments made in the House of Lords.
As well as receiving normal ‘nuclear’ DNA from its mother and father, a child would also have a minuscule amount of healthy mitochondrial DNA (mDNA) from a woman donor to be used to repair faults.
The first babies concerning this technique could be born next year.
The move has divided opinion, with those in favour saying it could help thousands of women to conceive but those against saying it could lead to a concerning trend of “designer” babies.
Meanwhile, 50 MEPs have declared that by allowing three-parent babies, Britain is therefore breaching EU law and has “violated human dignity”.
The MEPs – including Slovakian MEP Miroslav Mikolask – wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron to urge him to withdraw the legislation.
The open letter read: “We are writing to you to express our profound concern at the intention of the UK to permit the modification of the human genome.
“Your proposals violate the fundamental standards of human dignity and integrity of the person. Modification of the genome is unethical and cannot be permitted.
“These proposals put the UK out in front of a race to the bottom so far as standards of human dignity are concerned.”