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Press release on launch of The Genetic Revolution

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Dr Patrick Dixon, author of The Genetic Revolution, this week urged a campaign for regulation of gene technology.

"In the last few weeks we have heard of human cloning to make identikit human embryos for spare part production, of foetal eggs used to make a new generation, of human cancer genes added to a virus similar to that causing colds and of couples now able to choose the sex of their children.

"Designer life is a reality. Over 62,000 altered animals with mutant genes are born every year in the UK alone. Human genes have been added to cows, pigs, sheep, rabbits and fish. The pigs are blind, impotent and suffer from severe arthritis. Scorpion poison genes have been added to cabbages to kill caterpillars, but what about people?

"Future generations will be able to choose embryos for a host of characteristics such as height and intelligence. In the meantime we have all the technology to create a half man, half monkey - we have already done it with sheep and goat combined. The possibilities are limitless. I dread to think what would have done with the tools he would have today.

"New gene foods are already on sale without labelling or publicity. The Co-op has just banned humanised beef or pork. These products are not far away and other food chains are nervous of public reaction.

"We urgently need gene technology to cure diseases like AIDS and cystic fibrosis, and to feed the world, but we do need to ask what kind of world we are creating."

Dr Dixon is asking people to write to their MPs. Two early day motions have been signed by MPs this month led by David Alton calling for a comprehensive Gene Charter, following the recommendations in the book.

"They need to be asked to sign Early Day Motions 696 "Gene Technology and the threat to humanity" and 697 "Labelling of foods made using gene technology. We must make the government take these issues seriously".

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