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Genetics and Human Enhancement

General background
2002 background paper for Church of England Bishops on genetics. It is not a position paper but an introduction to the subject to aid Christian thinking.

Human Genetics
Mission & Public Affairs (MPA) Council submitted a response to the consultation Choosing the Future, run by the Human Genetics Consultation.

  • Warned that human genetics should be developed for the purpose of therapy only, and not for the enhancement of the foetus.

Novel Neurotechnologies
Mission and Public Affairs Council submitted a response to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics's consultation on Novel Neurotechnologies

Emerging Biotechnologies
Mission and Public Affairs Council submitted a response to the Nuffield Council on Bioethics's consultation on Emerging Biotechnologies

Animals Containing Human Material
February 2010
MPA Council submitted a response to the Academy of Medical Sciences call for evidence on Animals Containing Human Material.

  • The main issue at stake is the degree of modification, particularly where the resulting animal becomes, in effect, a different animal or where characteristics typical of human personhood or borderline personhood may emerge. The Council's view is that where there is any doubt with regard to an animal's status it is right to err on the side of caution. 

Genetically Modified Organisms 
Church Commissioners, who are responsible for the Church's land, were asked if they would consider leasing farmland for scientific crop trials, which might include genetically modified (GM) crop trials.

  • The Ethical Investment Advisory Group (EIAG) of the Commissioners undertook a detailed study of the theology, ethics and science of GM crop trials undertaken in open fields.
  • The EIAG produced a report with recommendations, which were accepted by the Church Commissioners in 2000.
  • The EIAG recommended that future tenants of the Church Commissioners should not be permitted to conduct GM crop trials without prior permission, which would be granted on a case by case basis.
  • The report includes guidelines on how such trials should be conducted ethically.

The Board for Social Responsibility produced a briefing paper on GM Organisms in April 1999. (Briefing papers of the Board do not give the policy position of the Church but seek to provide factual information and theological arguments to assist Christians and others in their thinking.)


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