Human Genetics Alert
For Immediate release May 19th
HGA briefing demolishes scientific claims behind hybrid embryos
Human Genetics Alert (1) is today publishing a briefing which exposes the misleading scientific statements made by the supporters of cloned hybrid embryo research. The briefing lists seven clear biological defects of cloned hybrid embryos. HGA has asked three British Nobel prizewinners (2) to criticise its arguments, but none of them told us of any errors. We are today challenging the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Royal Society to refute our analysis.
The briefing shows that:
- claims that the embryos are 99.9% human of false and are based on crude genetic reductionism;
- the embryos have very little chance of yielding stem cells due to their multiple biological defects;
- any stem cells that were produced would be abnormal and useless for scientific research;
- how initial massive hype has been followed by very lukewarm support by scientific bodies, yet the Government and public have been convinced to overcome their ethical concerns by the inflated and misleading claims.
HGA's director, Dr David King, said: "These embryos are absolutely crippled and have practically no scientific or medical potential. This is the worst campaign of scientific misinformation I've ever seen. If three Nobel prizewinners do not refute our scientific arguments, that's good enough for me.”
“The argument that all avenues of research must be kept open is not a scientific argument, but merely scientists' insistence on their freedom. Yet it is the public that pays their wages, and we have the right to impose limits on unethical research.”
“All those people that scientists love to sneer at, because they say cloned hybrid embryos are unnatural are dead right. It is precisely because these embryos are so unnatural that their biology is a complete mess. The science lobby should be ashamed of the way it has misled the public and MPs.”
Dr David King can be contacted on 020 7502 7516. He will be at Westminster from lunchtime, and will be available on 07854 256040.
Notes for editors
1. Human Genetics Alert ( www.hgalert.org ) is an independent secular watchdog group, which supports women's reproductive rights.
2. HGA contacted Professor Paul Nurse, Professor John Sulston, and Professor Martin Evans, asking them to respond to our analysis. Although they all reiterated that they supported hybrid embryo research, because they wished all avenues of research to be kept open, none of them made any significant criticisms of our scientific analysis.
3. HGA's briefing on hybrid embryos, and a two-page briefing for MPs are attached.