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Lord Robert Winston: "Genetically Modified Babies Inevitable"

Genetic Crossroads
February 4th, 2000

From an article by Ann Ashburner, OTC (COMTEX Newswire):

Grahamstown (East Cape News, February 3, 2000) - Genetically
modified babies were inevitable, said renowned fertility pioneer
Lord Robert Winston recently. "In my view, we will certainly be
able to make transgenic humans." Lord Winston was speaking to
the Royal Society last week to mark his Michael Faraday Award in
recognition of his contribution to the public understanding of
science. During the lecture, he also discussed the inevitable
use so-called germ-line gene therapy which effects eggs, sperm
and thus future generations. The British government blocked
moves in June last year to clone early embryos for the production
of tissue for medical treatments.

Winston expressed his frustration at this debate: "I find it very
distressing that we should be going backwards. To be hysterical
about the use of embryos for tissue engineering does not make any
sense if you are likely to be able to save a life." Winston's TV
series, "Your Life In Their Hands," reached an audience of 8 million
viewers and was one of the most successful BBC2 series ever made.

[ A correction to this piece was later released:

An attendee at that Royal Society lecture has informed us that the
quote attributed to Winston is inaccurate. According to our informant,
the misquote is a "prime example of how the media like this story of
inevitability." In fact, Winston was "slippery, and insisted that we
should keep the subject open, but he thinks that germline engineering
is probably a bad idea."

We regret the error.]



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