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In Vitro Fertilisation

Question for Department of Health

UIN HL3461, tabled on 5 December 2014

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 30 October 2013 (WA 259), 26 November 2013 (WA 263), 3 December 2013 (WA 36) and 3 December 2014 (HL3158), whether they can provide specific examples of internationally authoritative sources using terms like "genetic modification," "GM" and "germline" in "rather mixed and odd ways"; and what assessment they have made of the consistency of such use compared to the consistency of their definition with sources they consider to be authoritative.

Answered on

16 December 2014

As the noble Lord is aware, there is no universally agreed definition of genetic modification or “GM” in humans.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority’s report of its public dialogue exercise referred to the mitochondrial donation techniques as “germ-line modification”, and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics’ review of Novel Techniques for the Prevention of Mitochondrial DNA Disorders referred to them as a form of “germ line gene therapy”. As the purpose of mitochondrial donation would be to prevent the transmission of serious mitochondrial disease from mother to child, we agree with this.