Readers' reactions

July 9, 1999

Last week in The THES... Ruth Deech argued scientists should recognise the government is right to delay the law on cloning

The government's response on June 24 to the Human Fertilisation Embryology Authority/Human Genetics Advisory Commission's report on cloning was disappointing. Ruth Deech, chair of the HFEA, is misguided in endorsing it.

No one has yet to offer a sound objection to human reproductive cloning. And

Deech's claim that a clone would have only one genetic parent is factually false - the

origin of all somatic cells is two genetic

parents.

Who the genetic parents are is a different question, and more needs to be said about why unusual genetic parentage is grounds for banning continued cloning.

As for the ban on therapeutic cloning, no wonder scientists were disappointed - yet again have they been disadvantaged relative to their American counterparts, for spurious reasons.

The government would do well to concentrate on educating people about genetics, and not to indulge in scaremongering and ignorance at the level of policy.

Justine Barley

University of Manchester Editor of The Genetic Revolution and Human Rights

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