Talking Points: - ÚÑÈí-
Dr. John Shea, M.D., F.R.C.P. (C)
Government of Canada’s proposal for legislation governing assisted human
reproduction has defined a “human clone” as “an embryo” which, as a result of
manipulation of human reproductive material” contains the same nuclear
deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) sequence found in the cell of a living or diseased
human being, fetus, or embryo. It defined human reproductive material as “a
sperm, ovum, or other human cell, human gene or in vitro embryo, and includes
any part of them”. It fails to state that the word “clone”, as it applies to
human beings, is also defined as a cell or tissue replicated by means of
mitosis from any human body cell.
the proposed legislation would appear to forbid any person from “knowingly” creating a “human clone”. In fact, a
person may be allowed to perform the following three procedures, “under
the authority of a license” issued by the Minister of Health:
- To alter “a sperm, ovum, or other human cell, human gene or
in vitro embryo… or any part of them” for the purpose of “research or the
prevention, diagnosis or treatment of disease injury or disability”.
- To create a chimera for any purpose, including research.
A chimera is defined in the proposed legislation
as a human being or fetus into which a cell of any non-human life form
has been introduced.
combine any part or any portion of the human genome specified in the
regulations with any part of the genome of an animal species specified in
though the proposal would appear to prohibit “human cloning”, under
ministerial license, it may be permitted.
ministerial authority, one might also, for the purpose of “research, or
prevention, diagnosis or treatment of disease, injury or disability”, use
stem cells from a human embryo.
- To produce an embryo by transferring the nucleus of a somatic
cell into an ovum.
- To produce an embryo by splitting a blastocyst.
- To use stem cells from a human embryo (which may kill the
embryo) in order to clone other embryos for the facilitation of
- To duplicate or copy human DNA by means of transferring it
into a sperm, ovum or embryo. These genetic changes can then be
“copied” by normal sexual reproduction through subsequent generations.
insert DNA from the cytoplasm of another cell from any kind of animal
into the cytoplasm of a human ovum, which is then fertilized and the DNA
handed on to later generations.
- To perform parthenogenesis, in which the ovum develops into a
new individual without fertilization.
- To perform eugenic, genetic “enhancement”, by the insertion
of superior genes, under the category of “research”.
national survey, conducted in April 2001, by Health Canada,
found that most Canadians want the federal government to allow “human cloning”. Do the public and the members of
parliament understand the broad spectrum of activities that the
legislation actually proposes to legalize?
proposed legislation, in defining the words “human cloning”, make a
distinction between the words, “embryo”, “fetus” and “human being”. This
distinction infers that the embryo and the fetus are not human beings.
This inference is a scientific fiction.
Saint Charbel for