Human Development

Dr. Lejeune: Life Begins at Conception

LIFE BEGINS AT CONCEPTION

Dr. Jerome Lejeune of Paris, France, was a physician and Doctor of Science and Professor of Genetics for 25 years. Dr. Lejeune discovered the genetic cause for Down’s Syndrome. He received awards such as the Kennedy Prize and the Memorial Allen Award Medal; he was a member of The American Academy of Arts and Science, the Royal Society of Medicine of London, and the Royal Society of Science in Stockholm. Dr. Lejeune died April 3, 1994.

Dr. Lejeune noted that the very first cell, the fertilized egg cell or zygote, is “the most specialized cell under the sun”.

In the words of Dr. Lejeune: “Each of us has a very precise starting moment which is the time at which the whole necessary and sufficient genetic information is gathered inside one cell, the fertilized egg, and this is the moment of fertilization. There is not the slightest doubt about that and we know that this information is written on a kind of ribbon which we call the DNA…Nature has used the smallest possible language to carry the information from father to children, from mother to children, from generation to generation…At no time is the human being a blob of protoplasm. As far as your nature is concerned, I see no difference between the early person that you were at conception and the late person which you are now. You were and are a human being.”

      When Dr. Lejeune testified in the Louisiana legislature he stated, “Recent discoveries by Dr. Alec Jeffreys of England demonstrate that the information (on the DNA molecule)  is stored by a system of bar codes not unlike those found on products at the supermarkets…it’s not any longer a theory that each of us is unique.”

In 1989, during testimony on The Seven Human Embryos in Tennessee, Dr. Lejeune made the following observation:

“…as soon as he has been conceived, a man is a man.”