Reproductive Science: “A Race to the Bottom”

When it comes to playing God in the field of reproduction, there seems to be no bottom to the pit of evil science. Newly announced developments show just how far researchers are attempting to go in upending the natural order of things.

The following are three examples.

Three is More Than a Crowd

Two recent announcements have sparked both praise and alarm.

A baby boy born in Mexico to a Jordanian couple is being hailed as the world’s first child created using what is called the “three parent” technique.

The child’s mother has Leigh syndrome, a fatal disorder that affects the developing nervous system and would have been passed on in her mitochondrial DNA.

The controversial procedure was performed by Dr. John Zhang, a New York-based fertility doctor. The technique involved taking the nucleus from one of the mother’s eggs—containing her DNA—and implanting it with the healthy nucleus from a donor.

The couple went to Mexico to evade U.S. regulations.

About the same time, a Ukrainian doctor announced he had successfully performed a similar technique. 

While proponents hailed the developments, not everyone was supportive. Dr. Marcy Darnovsky, Executive Director of the Center for Genetics in Berkeley, CA, labeled the developments, “race to the bottom.”

She accused fertility doctors “…of ignoring evidence that points to long-term safety risks associated with these embryo engineering techniques. They are ignoring ongoing policy debates and conducting dangerous and socially fraught experiments on mothers and children. And they appear to be actively seeking a media splash on the way down.”

Look Dad: No Mommy

In defiance of nature and centuries of history, scientists at a leading university in the United Kingdom announced a process that someday could allow two men to come together to make a baby and eliminate the need for eggs from women.

Researchers at the University of Bath have demonstrated that embryos can be created from cells which carry all their chromosomes, which means that, in theory, any cell in the human body could be fertilized by a sperm.

Dr. Tony Perry, a molecular embryologist and senior author of the study, said: “It has been thought that only an egg cell was capable of reprograming sperm to allow embryonic development to take place.

“Our work challenges that dogma, held since early embryologists observed mammalian eggs around 1827…We’re talking about different ways of making embryos. Imagine that you could take skin cells and make embryos from them. This would have all kinds of utility.”

Those using the process would still need a woman to carry the child to term-for now.

Humans Not Needed

This summer scientists announced the start of a 10-year project aimed at greatly enhancing the ability to chemically manufacture DNA, with the ultimate goal of synthetically creating the entire human genome.

Initially, the goals could be growing transplantable human organs, engineering immunity in cells to fight viruses and cancer, as well as enabling high productive, cost efficient vaccines.

However, if successful, the end result could allow the creation of designer babies without biological parents, despite the fact that those involved claim they have no such intentions.

The effort presented in a paper authored by 25 scientists is called the “Human Genome Project—Write” because it’s aimed at writing the DNA of life. It will require assembling from scratch the 3 billion pairs of DNA that drive a human cell.

The effort was unveiled at a closed-door, invitation-only meeting of 150 scientists, lawyers, and entrepreneurs at Harvard University.

The paper’s authors hope to launch the project with $100 million in initial funding, with a potential price tag of more than $1 billion. It’s being run by an organization called the Center for Excellence for Engineering Biology.

Not everyone is thrilled about the whole idea. Laurie Zoloth, a bioethicist at Northwestern University in Chicago, said the potential benefits are “not adequate reasons to take such an enormous moral step."

The elephant in the room: what could possibly go wrong with any of this?

“We’re at the point where we cannot even count the number of genies that have been loosed,” said GRTL President Ricardo Davis. “Pro-life supporters need to let their elected officials know of their concern and to be in prayer asking that God intervene before we completely destroy the concept of humanity.”

Sources: nytimes.com; sciencemag.org; hgpwrite.org; bath.ac.uk; christianpost.com; geneticsandsocietiy.org; newscientist.com; independent.co.uk.

By Wayne DuBois
Georgia Right to Life
Media Relations Advisor