REV Dr John Cameron’s response to Peter Kearney of the Scottish Catholic Media Office on the subject of mitochondrial replacement (MR), displays a misplaced sense of bioethics and some very dodgy theology (Letters, 18 March).
Whilst Rev Dr Cameron does a good job of describing the “happy path” procedure, he fails to mention that MR does nothing to help children already born with mitochondrial diseases, that the procedure is based on cloning and artificial reproductive techniques that create “spare embryos”, that the procedure has not been proven safe in animals or humans, and that the UK government has sanctioned germ-line genetic engineering of its citizens.
As such there are risks that the invasive procedure may cause birth defects, that spare embryos may be destroyed, that any baby not developing normally may be aborted, and that the procedure will open the door to more extensive engineering since the linguistic gymnastics of the Department of Health redefined “genetic modification” to bypass current laws against germ-line genetic modifications in humans.
Rev Dr Cameron’s support for MR in my opinion would appear to call into question his understanding of Christian theology regarding the nature of procreation between man and woman, the sanctity of human life, the human soul, and the nature of suffering.
Biggar, South Lanarkshire
THE views of Peter Kearney from the Scottish Catholic Church on mitochondrial DNA transfer requires a counter position to be expressed in the interests of balance (Perspective, 18 March).
The distinguished professor, Lord (Robert) Winston, is on record as stating: “As an orthodox Jew, my religious tradition sees no objection to using science in this way.
If mitochondrial treatments could prevent disease, surely this is to be celebrated as we are using the “God-given intelligence afforded us”.
The professor says this DNA technique is no more sinister than blood transfusion, although of course some religious sects object to that too. I have no objection if Mr Kearney would not choose to avail himself of this technique but by what right does he seek to deny this treatment to others who do not share his religious beliefs?
National Secular Society