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Eugenics And Genetic Engineering

Volume 77: debated on Monday 15 April 1985

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asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give details of any discussions the Government have held and programmes they have negotiated in relation to eugenics and genetic engineering, including research programmes (a) in the European Economic Community and (b) in the United States of America; and what proposals there are for any such further discussions and programmes, harmonisation of laws and international agreements in that field of activity.

The United Kingdom complies with a European Community Recommendation of June 1982 on the registration of work on recombinant DNA. A sub-element of the Community's five-year research programme in biotechnology, agreed in December 1984, concerns genetic engineering.Aspects of the research undertaken at the European molecular biology laboratory, of which the United Kingdom is a member, also concern genetic engineering. The United Kingdom takes part in discussions in the scientific and technological policy committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development on the safety and use of genetically engineered organisms.As to the specifically human aspects, the United Kingdom participates in discussions in an ad hoc committee of expertsat the Council of Europe established to examine the ethical and legal implications, including the feasibility of harmonising laws among member states. Non-governmental British representatives attended the conference on the life sciences and mankind organised by the Japanese Government in March 1984, and there will also be a British contribution to the follow-upconference which the French Government are to hold between 18 and 22 April.