United Kingdom grants first license to make babies using DNA from three people
United Kingdom grants first license to make babies using DNA from three people
The procedure has proven controversial
18 March, 2017, 01:03
The doctors performed it in Mexico since current regulations in the U.S.do not allow it. Dr. David Agus told the CBS News that it would look like there were three parents but it would be more appropriate to say there were 2.001 parents.
A fertility clinic in Newcastle was just granted permission to start performing what's known as the "three-parent baby" technique, a controversial in vitro fertilization procedure that prevents genetic diseases from being passed on to children by giving them three genetic 'parents'.
The plans for three-parent babies were first announced at the end of past year prompting alarm from pro-life groups.
Wait, hold up. What is a "three-parent" baby? In the 1990s, several babies were born with genetic material from three "parents" using a different technique.
The baby will have nuclear DNA from its mum and dad that define things like personality, as well as DNA from a female donor.
Doctors used IVF to fertilize the mother's egg with the father's sperm, and they transferred the combined genes into another egg from a second woman.
The end result is the same, producing an embryo containing healthy mitochondria from the donor and nuclear DNA from the baby's mother and father.
The procedure is created to prevent inherited genetic diseases.
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Mitochondria are the tiny structures in every cell that generate energy. Faulty mitochondria can result in conditions including muscular dystrophy and major organ failure.
HFEA chair Sally Cheshire said: "I can confirm today that the HFEA has approved the first application by Newcastle Fertility at Life for the use of mitochondrial donation to treat patients".
The approval of the license has been welcomed by members of the British science community.
"Mitochondrial diseases can be devastating for families affected and this is a momentous day for patients who have tirelessly campaigned for this decision", said Doug Turnbull, head of the Newcastle Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research, according to Buzzfeed.
Critics of the treatment say it is a risky step that will lead to the creation of genetically modified "designer babies".
Pro-life charity Life criticised HEFA for granting the license.
"Whilst we are deeply sympathetic to the plight of people with mitochondrial related diseases, theends does not always justify the means. Our understandable search for therapies to help overcome illness and disabilities must be done in an ethical way and balanced against the unconditional acceptance of all human beings, whatever differences they may have".
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