domingo, 10 de abril de 2016

BioEdge: Ban on embryo research survives challenge in Italy

BioEdge: Ban on embryo research survives challenge in Italy

Ban on embryo research survives challenge in Italy

Italy’s Constitutional Court has reaffirmed the legitimacy of a ban on human embryo research. In a decision late last month the Court declared that Article 13 of Law 40, a 2004 law on assisted reproduction, was constitutional.

The legislation was challenged by a couple who had created several embryos in an IVF clinic. They requested that the defective ones be made available for genetic research, although this obviously clashed with Law 40.

Geneticist Bruno Dallapiccola, of the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, was scathing in his comments to the L’Avvenire newspaper:

“The embryo is not simply a mass of cells, but something more which deserves to be respected. The Constitutional Court’s ruling, by maintaining the ban on using frozen embryos for research, confirms this principle."
He also expressed scepticism about the usefulness of human embryonic stem cells, in the wake of recent developments in stem cell research:

"We have not achieved the results that many hoped. The idea that research on embryonic stem is helpful in treating serious diseases today is, in my opinion, only a slogan that is not reflected in reality. While adult stem cells have led to tangible results which are transferable to clinical work, and while induced pluripotent cells have led to the creation of experimental models of diseases, embryonic stem cells have led nowhere.”
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In events which seem copied from the script of a B-grade potboiler, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, has, at the age of 60, just discovered that he is not who he thought he was. After taking a DNA test to disprove rumours that he was not his father's son, he learned that the rumours were true. His real father was the last private secretary of Wnston Churchill, Sir Anthony Montague Browne. 
Despite his deep religious faith, the Archbishop seems quite shaken by the news. He surmounted a difficult childhood with alcoholic parents to become a successful oil executive and then an Anglican priest. He had no idea that the ne'er-do-well whom he regarded as his estranged father was not. In an interview with The Telegraph [London] he said:
“My own experience is typical of many people. To find that one’s father is other than imagined is fairly frequent. To be the child of families with great difficulties in relationships, with substance abuse or other matters, is far too normal.
“Although there are elements of sadness, and even tragedy in my father’s case, this is a story of redemption and hope from a place of tumultuous difficulty and near despair in several lives ... I know that I find who I am in Jesus Christ, not in genetics, and my identity in him never changes.” 
Although this is just an anecdote, it confirms what I've always regarded as one of the most important principles in contemporary bioethics: that every child deserves to know his or her biological parents. Archbishop Welby is better prepared than most to survive a personal earthquake like this, but it is an earthquake. To know who we are, to have a secure personal identity, is an important dimension of our autonomy. 
Michael Cook

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Constitutional Court rules that embryos are too precious to be used in research.

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Why has Britain's scientific establishment named its new research institute after a eugenicist?
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