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In Vitro Fertilisation

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL3158, tabled on 25 November 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, George Freeman, on 11 September (HC Deb, col 749W), whether their definition of genetic modification in the context of pronuclear transfer and spindle-chromosome complex transfer has been primarily academic or strategic in intent; what were the internationally authoritative sources that provided the basis for their conclusion that "there is no existing universally agreed definition of genetic modification in humans"; and to what extent they consulted Lord Winston or similar experts in assessing the accuracy of their own redefinition.

Answered on

3 December 2014

The development of a working definition for genetic modification in humans was undertaken in order to bring clarity to the discussion around mitochondrial donation. A full transcript of the Chief Medical Officer’s views on this matter can be found at:

http://data.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/committeeevidence.svc/evidencedocument/science-and-technology-committee/mitochondrial-donation/oral/14822.html

As regards the discussions that took place in reaching this position, I refer the noble Lord to the answer given on 18 March 2014 (Column WA20).